11-year-old surfing phenom battling traumatic brain injury after - KPTV - FOX 12

11-year-old surfing phenom battling traumatic brain injury after accident on Mt. Bachelor

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(Courtesy: Belden family) (Courtesy: Belden family)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Just a few weeks ago, 11-year-old Brayden Belden was tearing up the shoreline in Mexico - showing off the skills of a surfing prodigy. The California native started surfing at the age of 8 and has become a phenomenon in the competitive surfing community.

But today, Brayden is in a medically induced coma at Randall Children’s Hospital in Portland and hooked up to machines, with no clear answers for doctors or his family.

“He’s just such a special boy and a humble, good kid and it just kills me,” said Brayden’s father, Matt Belden. “It kills me to see him. He’s my son, but he’s like my best friend.”

Last week, Matt and Brayden were snowboarding on Mt. Bachelor when Brayden took on a big jump. Matt watched as he launched himself at least 30 feet in the air and then landed, hard. Brayden didn’t move.

“He was lifeless. I was the first responder, I guess you could say. I was like, ‘Brayden! Brayden! Wake up. What’s going on?’ And I opened his eyes and they were rolled in the back of his head and I was like oh my god," said Matt.

A chaplain greeted Matt and his wife at the hospital and doctors said Brayden wouldn’t last two hours. The way he landed caused a traumatic head injury and his brain was swelling, even though he was wearing a helmet. Then, all of a sudden, Brayden started improving.

“All of the doctors agree that if he didn’t have that helmet on, he’d be dead on contact," said Matt.

Doctors flew Brayden to Randall Children’s Hospital where he goes back and forth between better and worse. But Matt says the support they’re getting is incredible.

“All that love, I know he feels. You know, these doctors can’t tell you anything about how a brain’s going to react or do this or that, but all of them do agree that the more love a kid gets, the better his recovery," he said.

Matt says Brayden is his surfing buddy and his favorite adventure partner. But right now, he just wants his little boy to be OK.

“He’s a gladiator and he’s going to fight.”

Anyone who would like to help Brayden's family can visit https://www.gofundme.com/brayden-belden

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