Former East High football player focusing on recovery after losing leg in crash

Former East High football player focusing on recovery after losing leg in crash
Bailey talks with Tate (Source: WMC Action News 5)
Bailey talks with Tate (Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - It was his dream to play college football.

Jabari Bailey had finally made it, playing for Tuskegee University.

But on July 11, everything changed for the former East High School linebacker.

"Lucky?" Bailey said. "Lucky I didn't die. But I wouldn't say too lucky."

Bailey stopped on the side of Frasyer-Raleigh Road on July 11 to help jumpstart a friend's stalled car.

"I was in between the two cars," Bailey said. "I had one leg between and someone ran into the back of it and crushed the leg."

Frank Smith, 47, is charged with failing to yield, causing serious injury for the crash.

While Bailey's father is working with the District Attorney's office to push for Smith's charge to be upgraded, the former football player's mind is focused on his new chapter in life.

"I didn't want to dwell on it," Bailey said. "You can dwell on it and you can easily get depressed."

The severity of his injury forced doctors to amputate Bailey's left leg.

Less than a month after the crash, Bailey is anxious to walk again.

"How long does it take, once I get the prosthetic leg, to be walking?" Bailey asked.

"It's not like your brain forgot how to walk, it just has to use the muscles differently," said Terrell Tate with the Center for Orthotics and Prosthetics.

It could happen by Thanksgiving, but Bailey's path of recovery has just begun.

His athletic mindset drives Bailey to focus on his new future to one day work in real estate.

He is also determined to return to school in January.

"It's very important to have a support system," Bailey said. "It helps you mentally, and it all starts with you mentally."

Though a career in football may no longer be in Bailey's future, his life is now guided by a different playbook.

"I always knew I was more than just a football player," Bailey said.

In a statement, D.A. Amy Weirich said:

"We are reviewing all of the circumstances of this case to determine if other charges are more appropriate. That could be done at the General Sessions level or as a submission to the Grand Jury."

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