LAURINBURG — Scotland star Jaylend Ratliffe passed his swallow test Friday, and is no longer on a feeding tube, according to a source.
Ratliffe is currently in the pediatric wing of Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte after doctors moved him out of the intensive care unit late last week. He will continue to undergo physical therapy as he recovers from an ATV accident that left him with a fractured skull almost three weeks ago.
Scotland coach Richard Bailey said this is another small step in Ratliffe’s recovery process.
“He is cleared to drink fluids and small amounts of food like jellos and things like that,” Bailey said. “He was sky high about — it’s going to help out his strength and him feeling better. He’s lost a lot of weight during this thing so now he can start eating some real food and putting that weight back on.”
Ratliffe also had a surprise visitor this week, as Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton visited the Scotland product on Tuesday. Bailey said it boosted Ratliffe’s spirits to have one of his favorite players come and check on him.
“Cam coming was big,” Bailey said. “Cam stayed for about an hour and visited with him and brought him some Carolina Panthers stuff so it was pretty good.”
Dakota Holland, Ratliffe’s teammate who was riding with him during the ATV accident, said the Newton visit really meant a lot to Ratliffe. Holland said he texts and Snapchats with Ratliffe every so often.
“If I was there I would’ve passed out — I wouldn’t have been able to handle that, he’s my favorite player,” Holland said. “They said when he came in there all Jaylend could say was, ‘What’s up, Cam?’ Jaylend didn’t really have anything to say because he couldn’t believe it.”
The Scotland County community has supported Ratliffe for afar with several fundraisers the last few weeks. The latest, a plate sale, will take place on Aug. 28 at First United Methodist Church, at the corner of Church and Main streets in Laurinburg.
Ray Herring, of Southernway Catering, has organized the sale, calling it, “Cooking for Jaylend.”
Lunch will be served from 11 a.m to 2 p.m. and dinner from 4-7 p.m. Plates are $7 each for either chicken or pork chops with two sides, drink and dessert. A plate with both chicken and pork can be purchased for $10.
Tickets can be purchased downtown at Harley’s Tuxedo or the Gospel Music and Christian Bookstore; at Community Drugs or Holmes Insurance, at 1028 and 615 Atkinson Street, respectively; at Carrie & Co., at 898 U.S. 401 or Taylor Made Cuts, across from Scotland High School on Church Street.