Former Triad multi-sport athlete fights to walk again after paralyzed in workplace accident

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FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — For years, Tyree Logan was known for how well he ran. Earning all-conference honors for men’s track at Glenn High School, where he also played cornerback for the football team, his work ethic was well-known amongst his coaches.

“Football-wise he was smooth. Smooth with the ball, did everything you asked of him as a football player,” said Rod Dunlap, who started coaching him in 2008.

That diligence suited him well after graduating from Glenn in 2016. In 2019, he took a job as a laborer, which landed him on a Georgia-Pacific site near Butler, Alabama, where he was working for a contractor.

“I don’t think he has a bad bone in his body,” said Shantae Graham, a family friend.

But, on Oct. 7, a mishap on the work site left several of those bones broken.

“As a mom, I couldn’t imagine,” Graham said.

Tyree’s mother, LaTrease, says his duties were to hook up a rebar cage to a cable, leading to a crane. Tyree would then signal to the crane operator to lift the cage, then guide the operator to insert the cage – which supports buildings so they don’t collapse – into a hole.

On the 7th, it was Tyree’s 11th day of performing those duties. Around 3:30 in the afternoon, she says, the cable snapped.

“It hit the ground and then I believe it bounced on Tyree,” LaTrease detailed.

The cage, which LaTrease says weighs more than 5,000 pounds, crushed several of Tyree’s bones, including his C5 vertebrae, which is located at the base of the skull. Today, she says, he is paralyzed with no feeling below his biceps.

“His injuries are catastrophic,” LaTrease said. “But we serve a God. He’s already performed a miracle on Tyree.”

The miracle is that Tyree was kept alive. LaTrease says he “bottomed out” several times, and some of his ribs were broken bringing him back.

Today, Tyree is still largely unable to talk. He communicates by mouthing words and with his eyes.

“His tears also tell a story,” Graham said.

LaTrease’s latest update is that Tyree has an infection. He had surgery on his mandible scheduled for Wednesday, but doctors are unsure if they’ll be able to perform it. With LaTrease and other family members with him at UAB Hospital in Birmingham, they’re hopeful Tyree’s next miracle will be to perform something which once came so easily to him.

“I’m extremely hopeful that he will be able to walk again,” LaTrease said.

A Georgia-Pacific public affairs official was unable to provide additional information, saying the accident - confirmed to have happened on site on October 7 - involved a “contractor employee.” The official added they understand the contractor’s investigation is underway.

OSHA sent FOX8 the following statement regarding the accident:

“OSHA received notice of the worker hospitalization October 10, 2019, through an employer-reported referral/severe injury report. The employer was reported to be HJ Foundation, Inc. In accordance with established policy, OSHA conducted a Rapid Response Investigation in response to the report, which is an off-site inquiry where the employer is expected to conduct an investigation of the incident and share its findings with OSHA. OSHA will evaluate the information to ensure that the employer has identified and corrected any hazardous conditions. If the response is insufficient, OSHA may proceed with an on-site inspection.”

Meanwhile, Tyree’s family and friends are hopeful medical developments, paired with his fighting spirit, will help him get back on his feet.

“He just has so much life to live,” LaTrease said. “I will do everything in my power to ensure that he has a sense of normalcy.”

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