Boy who survived bullet to head cheers on at DC Turkey Bowl

WASHINGTON — At this year’s Turkey Bowl in Northeast D.C., the winning team’s key to success may have been the cheers of an 11-year-old boy who has won a battle for his life.

“Jaydan is a miracle. He’s my little blessing,” said Monique Nichols, the mother of Jaydan Stancil. He survived being hit in the head by a stray bullet back in October 2014.

Not long after getting out of the hospital, Stancil spent much of his time cooped up in the family’s home. Then, a parent at H.D. Woodson High School invited the middle schooler to become an honorary member of the high school’s football team.

“If I’m on time, I get to walk out with the team; they let me be on the sidelines,” Stancil said.

A smile came across his mother’s face as she watched her son cheer on the team. “I am just happy that my son is able to walk, because 20 minutes into the hospital, they said he wouldn’t make it,” Nichols said.

On Thanksgiving, she added that she is thankful to have all four of her sons around the dinner table, because she knows many other families have lost their loved ones to gun violence.

“A lot of kids don’t make it; a lot of adults don’t make it,” the mother said.

The road to recovery has been tough for Stancil, she said; he has a visible scar on his head, walks with a limp and the bullet, which struck him, remains in his head.

Since the shooting, the family has moved out of the Northeast D.C. neighborhood where it happened, and Stancil is back in school and on the honor roll.

At the end of the Turkey Bowl, Woodson defeated Woodrow Wilson High School 22-20, and maybe some of that victory is due in part to the support of a young boy who beat all the odds.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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