Long recovery ahead for teen hero

August 29, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Earlier this month, Branndin Phillips-Laramore was hailed as a hero when he pushed a friend out of the path of a speeding car.

Laramore was having a good summer, spending it in New York, where he celebrated his 16th birthday. Then he was the victim of a devastating crash. While he can get around now on crutches, his recovery might be a long one.

Laramore is an engaging, talkative 16-year-old, but it is clear that he is suffering from a lot of pain.

"It literally feels like my bones are moving in my leg," Laramore said.

Laramore's femur, the largest bone in the body, was shattered when he was hit by a car nearly three weeks ago.

The crash happened in New York City. Laramore had been there about a month, taking part in a selective arts program for poetry and songwriting. On August 11, he and a friend were about to catch a bus on 125th Street in Harlem when an SUV sped toward them. His quick thinking helped save her life.

"The car came so fast that I yelled, 'Yo, watch out for the car,' and she didn't hear me," said Laramore. "So I ended up running and pushing her out of the way."

Laramore says he blacked out before he was hit by the SUV, which sped away. He was rushed to a hospital, where surgeons placed a titanium rod in his thigh. He also suffered cuts to his head and body.

While Laramore was recovering in Harlem Hospital.. his sister, who lives in New York, and his mother, who flew in immediately, stayed by his side.

"You just get a lot of time to sit and think and go through everything, every emotion," said Laramore. "I know there were a couple of nights when I cried about it, but of course, I had my mother and sister right there with me."

Also, there was the friend Laramore pushed to safety, who repeatedly apologized to the family.

"She was devastated," said Sedonia Phillips-Laramore, Branndin's mother. "She was blaming herself and I was like, 'Don't.' "

Back in his Chatham home, Laramore is focusing on his recovery, and writing and producing songs for his own record label. Both he and his mother try not to be discouraged that the hit-and-run driver has not been caught.

"I don't want any vengeance for the driver, but I do want them to be found because I don't want this to happen to anybody else," said Sedonia Phillips-Laramore.

Laramore is a junior at Simeon Career Academy, but he will miss the start of school next month because of his injuries.

His mother says she hopes someone from the school will tutor him at home so he won't be behind when he heads back to class.

Sedonia Phillips-Laramore says the school has been very compassionate, even sending a fruit basket to Branndin's hospital room.

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