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Adcock misses his students

Anxious to get back to normal and work

POSTED: November 1, 2008 5:00 a.m.
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Mike Adcock

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Katie Collier, a senior at Johnson High School, recalls the visit Mike Adcock, assistant principal at Johnson High School, made to her class on the first day of school this year.

"Coach Adcock is one of those administrators that when he walked in any classroom, it wasn’t, ‘Who’s in trouble?’ He was there to tell us that he loved us and ... to make sure everybody was having a great first day," Collier said. "Everybody was smiling when he left. That was just the effect he has on everybody in the school."

At 6 a.m. the following day, Aug. 8, Adcock was en route to Johnson High School when he lost control of his black Ford Explorer. He traveled 202 feet before the driver’s side of his vehicle struck a tree on Poplar Springs Road, according to a report from the Georgia State Patrol.

After enduring 18 surgeries and 11 weeks in the hospital, Adcock finally made it back to his Flowery Branch home Saturday. In the Atlanta rehabilitation center, he left behind a room filled with cards, banners and a poster that described Adcock as "equipped to endure," which was reminiscent of his days as a graduation coach at Flowery Branch High School.

Adcock has been an educator for nearly 30 years, several of which he spent as the boys’ head basketball coach at Flowery Branch High School before he became the assistant principal at Johnson High School last year.

On his return home, Adcock was accompanied by his wife, Linda Adcock, who teaches at Spout Springs Elementary, his son, David Adcock, who is a special education teacher at Johnson High School, and his daughter, Beth Adcock, who is a senior at Piedmont College.

Adcock’s two bulldogs greeted him as he came home. His wife, Linda, had already planned out his first meal back. At his request, she made him two eggs, ham and oatmeal.

"It’s all getting better every day," Mike Adcock said. "It’s just been a long ordeal. ... I want to try to get back (to work) before the (school) year’s out. ... I love those kids. I just enjoy being around them. I enjoy the high school age better than you’d think."

Adcock said although he’s come a long way since Aug. 8, he still has a long way left to go.

Damon Gibbs, principal of Johnson High School, said Adcock’s accident happened just one-third of a mile from the school. Gibbs said he arrived to school that morning to find a helicopter landing in the school parking lot, ready to rush Adcock to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.

"I didn’t know how bad it was until I got here," Gibbs said.

As a former neighbor and seven-year co-worker of Adcock’s, Gibbs said he and the rest of the students, faculty and staff of Johnson High School were devastated by the severe one-car wreck that nearly took Adcock’s life.

Adcock sustained broken bones in both legs, an ankle, his pelvis and a rib, which contributed to a collapsed lung. He had a tracheotomy to prevent long term damage to his vocal cords. In late August, doctors had to amputate Adcock’s lower left leg, just below the knee, to save the limb. Three weeks ago, Adcock had yet another surgery, this time on his stomach. And he’s lost a lot of weight during his recovery.

"He’s probably been as close to death as you can come without being gone," Gibbs said.

"I don’t remember not one thing about it — that’s what’s so sad about the whole situation," Mike Adcock said of the wreck. "I just remember waking up at Grady about six weeks after the wreck. I was just asleep, in and out."

Adcock said he still has a lifetime of rehabilitation ahead of him and now looks forward to being able to walk using a prosthetic leg. He said although it’s been a painful three months, the support of family, friends and the students at Johnson High School have carried him through those 18 surgeries.

He said his wife has been the glue that’s held it all together.

As she sat beside her husband during those dark six weeks while he was incoherent, Linda Adcock said the communication she had with family and friends on www.carepages.com, a Web site that allows people to track a loved one’s progress in the hospital, helped her to manage.

"Just knowing how many people we had praying for us ... it was an overwhelming peace and strength," she said.

The Johnson High School volleyball team held a tournament in September in which all proceeds were donated to the Adcock family to help defray traveling and medical expenses. In addition, Collier led students in the school’s National Honor Society program in a fundraising effort to sell $1 blue and white ribbons, symbolic of the Johnson High School Knights’ school colors, that earned $450 for the Adcock family.

Friends of Adcock also established a Mike Adcock benefit fund for contributions at Regions bank locations.

"It’s hard to put into words the impact he’s had on the kids here at the school," Gibbs said. "He’s touched a lot of people."

Collier said she’s looking forward to the day when the whole school can welcome Adcock back.

"His presence is definitely something we miss," she said.

Adcock said the support from friends, family and students has made the long recovery bearable. He said the cosmetology teacher at Johnson High School even visited him in the hospital to give him a hair cut.

"If you was laying up here by yourself, you wouldn’t have a chance," he said. "I’m just a fortunate person to have that kind of support.

"It’s been painful every day I wake up. It’s been painful to get through all this. But I sure do miss those kids at Johnson High School."



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