Fighting Back

Saturday morning in Oxford, a lot of people will run, or walk, a little more than three miles for a worthy cause. Hundreds of miles away in Naples, Fla., a young man and his family, just a day after his 23rd birthday, will be thinking of that event.

Today's Dash for Hash 5K, with more than 400 expected participants, wasn't something anybody could have predicted a few weeks ago. The reason for having it was something nobody could have anticipated either.

Former Rebel baseball player Taylor Hashman suffered a severe head injury this summer in Oxford, and for several days or even weeks was fighting for his life at The Med in Memphis.

As his condition slowly improved, Hashman was able to eventually go home to Naples where he continues therapy. His father, Don, said Taylor is a fighter, and that is why he continues to make progress.

"His recovery in a lot of instances has been very surprising to a lot of people," Don said. "It just goes to show his makeup and his determination. That's what Taylor's all about. That's what Taylor's always been about."

The entire situation has been difficult, and that obviously includes for Don. He credits many Ole Miss people who have been there for Taylor and also for him through the past two months.

Taylor Hashman

"It was really tough for me," Don said. "I didn't have a good feeling about this at first. It's been quite an ordeal for me personally, and I couldn't have done as well as I have without the support of the Rebel Nation. The support from the Rebel Nation has been amazing through the whole ordeal. Just some really good people."

The recovery time for an injury like this is simply unpredictable. Soon Taylor will be back in Memphis for another surgery.

"And that's what we're working on right now," Don said of the plans for what is coming next. "He's at a point now where he can get that done, and we're trying to expedite that."

They're supposed to hear more on that from doctors on Monday.

But in the meantime, this is a weekend to celebrate Taylor's birthday, to relax a bit, and to think of the important event going on at Ole Miss this morning to help their cause.

"One thing I'm thankful for is that he was actually able to celebrate this birthday," Don said. "There could have been a lot of different outcomes from this, and one of them could have been that he wasn't even here."

But he is here, in Naples, that is. In Oxford, he's here in spirit. And a lot of people are pitching in to help out today for a worthy and noble cause.

"We are doing well, and we're adjusting to his mode of life right now," Don said. "We're looking forward and hoping to see him recover 100 percent. Knowing Taylor, anything's possible. He cannot wait to be able to do more things. He's like a young colt right now, and it's hard to put the reins on him. But he's made drastic improvement so far, and he's doing very well.

"Again, we can't thank people enough for what they've done, and we really appreciate that very much."

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