WARRENSBURG - Mason Hamilton, a local high school football star from the 1990s, experienced a lot of vocal support from the sidelines during his gridiron days.
But now, the support is even more appreciated, widespread and heartfelt, considering the outreach of friends and community members to Hamilton following his Feb. 6 snowmobile racing accident that shattered his spine and left him partially paralyzed, his parents said Monday.
Hamilton, a 1998 graduate of Warrensburg Central School, was seriously injured when he flew off a snowmobile during a warm-up lap in a race event on Echo Lake held by the Northern New York Vintage Snowsled Racing Association, his mother Shelly Hamilton said.
The outreach from the community has not been limited, however, to the traditional hospital visits, cards, and entrees delivered to the family.
The community support has also expressed itself in a way appropriate to the digital age - it's gone virtual.
Mason Hamilton has become no less than an Internet phenomenon, with more than 900 friends linking up to a "We Support Mason Hamilton" Facebook page within a week of his accident.
Hundreds of people are now logging on nightly to read Mason's updates about his rehabilitation progress, and Mason elicits hundreds of comments when he publishes a memo, family members said.
Morgan is now in Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital of Schenectady after spending 11 days in Albany Medical Center, whose doctors screwed braces into his spine.
Mason's classmate Nick Isaacson and other brother Morgan Hamilton created this Internet-based outreach, Isaacson said Tuesday.
Morgan was getting a lot of inquiries via Facebook about his brother's condition, but because the way the social networking site is designed, it made sense and allowed more efficient access to launch a separate page devoted just to Mason and his recovery, Isaacson said.
A day after the crash, Isaacson had the Facebook site up and running, and he and Morgan fine-tuned it, eventually turning it over to Mason to administrate as he got better.