SALT LAKE CITY – Two recent graduates of West Jordan High School were seriously injured in an ATV accident just days after graduation.
On June 2, Forest Rich and Eastin Watts were riding an ATV in Duchesne when they lost control and went down an embankment. Eastin ran for help.
“To do that with a bunch of broken bones is pretty courageous, too,” said Mike Meifu, West Jordan High School Head Football Coach.
Eastin suffered two fractures in his spine and a broken rib. He’s now back home recovering.
Forest was LifeFlighted to the University of Utah Hospital. He fractured his femur and severed an artery, and he underwent surgery to repair both.
“Both of them, they just graduated high school, kinda moving on to the next chapter of their lives, and to have this adversity come up—as bad as it is now, they're very lucky,” Meifu said.
It’s a popular activity this time of year, but doctors say riding an ATV can be dangerous. They urge riders to be aware of your surroundings and always wear safety gear.
“These are accidents where you're going to be thrown. There's a lot of high energy, and that means very significant life changing and even life-threatening injuries,” said Dr. Toby Enniss, Associate Trauma Medicine Director at University of Utah Hospital.
Meifu visited Forest in the hospital Wednesday and said he’s in good spirits, despite more surgeries and a long road to recovery.
“He's a strong-willed person," Meifu said. "He'll push through his recovery and handle it the best possible way.”
In a video clip, Forest says he’s grateful for all the well-wishes from the West Jordan Football family and those who don’t know him or Eastin.
“Hey guys.... I'm doing a lot better," he said. "Thanks for all the love and support. It means the world to me. I don't know where I would be without all of you guys.”
“When something happens, everyone's there for one another, our school is that way, members of the community are that way,” Meifu said.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Forest and Eastin with medical bills.