Nashville/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on May 15, 2024
Vanderbilt's Coach Tim Corbin Offers Support to Grieving Family, Invites Sullivan Brother to Baseball Game Amid TragedySource: Unsplash/ Diana Polekhina

Vanderbilt baseball coach Tim Corbin opened his team's arms to Declan Sullivan, whose younger brother, Asher, lies critically injured after being swept into a storm drain, NewsChannel 5 reported. The heart-wrenching incident occurred after severe storms battered Rutherford County, leaving the Sullivan family clinging to hope in a hospital vigil. Corbin's gesture extended beyond a mere act of kindness, as he offered Declan a reprieve from the despair of his brother's bedside, inviting him to Vanderbilt's game against top-ranked Tennessee.

Even with his own team's struggles on his shoulders, having suffered back-to-back losses to their chief rival and facing the very threat of missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time in nearly two decades, Corbin reached out to the Sullivan family late at night according to a statement obtained by NewsChannel 5, “I texted him and I said, ‘Listen, I know this is small change, but can we take Declan for the afternoon and just bring him over to the ballpark?’ He texted me right back and said, ‘Let’s do it.’” Declan took his place by Corbin's side during the Sunday game, accepting the role of an honorary Vandy Boy, his own bravery in facing past health battles and now his brother's fight against mortality casting a long shadow over the baseball diamond.

The Commodores managed to channel perhaps some of Declan's resiliency, capturing a win against the Vols with a score of 3-0; this victory wasn't merely a much-needed boost for the team's standings, but a momentary bright spot in the face of the Sullivan family's ordeal, NewsChannel 5 detailed. Corbin remarked, "He had a great time," recognizing the simple moment's significance against the backdrop of a family on the brink, grappling with unthinkable impending decisions regarding Asher's care.

Jimmy Sullivan shared a heartbreaking update on social media, noting, "Asher had a really, really rough night. Neurological signs we were seeing as positives have stopped. He had some real tough moments with pulse, blood pressure and breathing." and mentioned the family was facing "impossible decisions" in the wake of an MRI that showed severe brain damage; this update was noted by The Tennessean. In solidarity, Rutherford County Schools encouraged students to wear blue and green in honor of Asher, reflecting the young boy's favorite colors and the community's embrace of a family confronting the deepest kind of sorrow.

Corbin's move to involve Declan in the day's game was less about a distraction and more about the healing power of community and shared passion, as he previously told WSMV, “They’re facing a situation that is difficult. Sports sometimes can bring relief to families and people in times of need, and this is just one of those times.”