Utah family raising funds to buy service dog after teen suffers traumatic brain injury in tornado

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RIVERDALE, Utah -- When you first meet Braydon Thompson he seems like a typical 18-year-old, but ask him a simple question and he won’t be able to answer because he’s constantly losing his memory.

“Like my birth date, how old I am, where I live, who my parents are, my brother,” Thompson said.

It’s one of the side effects he suffered last September when he was injured in a tornado that swept through his hometown of Riverdale.

He was running with his high school Army Ranger team, preparing for a competition, when it came out of nowhere.

“He got caught in the tornado and picked him up relatively 10 to 15 feet and was dropped on his head and his back,” said his mother, Brandy Mata.

Ever since that day, Braydon has been totally dependent on others.

“He’s basically like a toddler at the moment,” Mata said. “I give him his pills in the morning and at night. I have to tell him when to do things, when to change his shirt, when to shower.”

Mata said there is no telling if or when he’ll ever return to his old self.

“We’ve seen every specialist that you can imagine,” Mata said.

So now his family is reaching out to the public for help. They are asking for $5,000 to purchase and train a service dog and have set up a GoFundMe page.

“Having this dog, that would allow me to do my own things and give them the freedom to do what they want instead of taking care of me,” Thompson said.

The dog would be trained to do everything from reminding Braydon when to take his pills, to comforting him during episodes of PTSD, which are often triggered by the wind.

“For the past week it’s been really bad with all the wind and stuff; he hasn’t gone to school this week,” Mata said.

Mata said her son isn’t asking for much, he just wants to be a teenager again.

“It’s hard to watch an 18-year-old boy have no choice and no direction and no independence,” she said.

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