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Teen who fell from Hanging Rock close to breathing on his own

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Friends of Jason Messer thought he died after first responders say he fell at least 40 feet after walking over to the edge of a cliff at Hanging Rock State Park.

According to first responders, it took more than three hours to reach Messer’s body and get it to a location to be flown to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center by helicopter.

“He has so much muscle mass that they had to temporarily paralyze him because his muscles were fighting his lungs, he has a punctured and bruised lung,” Jason’s older brother Sam Messer said.

As of Monday evening, Sam says his brother is getting close to being able to breath on his own and doctors are tapering back the medicine used to put Jason in a coma. Messer calls it “great news” from his condition the night before.

“When you go through something like this you feel like the whole world stops spinning, and you need that support, you need to know there are other people who love you and care for you,” said Pastor Carey Hardy, from the Messer’s church, Twin City Bible Church.

Hardy says their church community has been in and out of the hospital to support the family, and they are organizing to start cooking the family meals.

“You know he's gonna give his fullest to everything and that's why he's hanging in there tough right now,” said Jason’s football coach at McMichael High School, Matt Stack.

Jason is a junior at McMichael and a lineman for the football team, and a leader on the field and in the weight room according to Stack.

“He's a strong-willed kid and he's gonna battle,” he said. “There is a fight from Jason Messer no matter what. Jason is one of those kids that, no one is gonna out-work him. If every single person in the world had his work ethic in the weight room, we'd have a whole lot of football players out there.”

Students across Rockingham County Schools are flooding in support by signing cards and collecting gift cards for gas and food for the family.

“I'd like to thank all the friends and all the family out here throughout social media that have called me, checked up on my family, we really appreciate everything you've guys done,” Sam Messer said.