Ken Hawkins gathered the Maryville High School girls’ softball team together on Monday night to try to make sense of it all.
The Lady Rebels and their coach remained deeply concerned about the condition of teammate Ashley Reisser, who was badly injured in an automobile accident Saturday evening. Reisser and four of her Maryville classmates were injured when their car spun out on an icy bridge on Pellissippi Parkway and struck another vehicle.
After exiting the car to check on the other driver, Reisser was struck by a sliding vehicle trailing the accident, suffering a fractured skull, broken ribs and other injuries. The Lady Rebel senior centerfielder was placed in a medically induced comma at the University of Tennessee Medical Center and remained in critical condition as of Tuesday.
“It’s a very troubled group of girls, troubled about Ashley,” Hawkins said. “It was very healthy for the girls to get a chance to share and to pray.
“It’s just hard on everybody right now. The girls’ strength will be good for them and good for Ashley.”
The outpouring of support from Maryville High students and that of coaches and players throughout the area has been heartfelt, Hawkins said. A Facebook page dedicated to Reisser had received more than 6,000 postings of prayers and well wishes as of Wednesday. Students at Maryville High have held a prayer vigil at the school flagpole each morning this week prior to the start of classes.
“It’s really hard on the family,” Hawkins said. “She’s a super kid. She’s one of the happiest kids to be around, and she brings up the team in so many ways. The community has responded so well.”
Reisser’s condition was said to be improving as of Wednesday morning, Hawkins said. For now, all they can do is wait and pray.
“Her family is a strong family,” Hawkins said, “and they need a lot of people bracing them up right now, and they’re getting it. Everybody just loves Ashley and wants her to get better fast.”
Ashley is the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. John Reisser. Her father is a surgeon with East Tennessee Medical Group and operates out of Blount Memorial Hospital.