By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
A flag football fundraiser, “Touchdowns for Mallory,” will take place this Saturday, December 18, to help pay mounting medical bills for a 9-year-old Escambia County Middle School fourth-grader who faces a long, slow road to recovery after a violent Thanksgiving Eve automobile crash.
Mallory Gibson suffered a broken back and numerous other injuries in the U.S. 31 crash, which also critically injured her mother, 40-year-old Wandra T. Gibson, and claimed the life of 10-year-old Kendall Watkins.
According to Clint Wilson, who is helping organize the football tournament, the youngster is maintaining a positive attitude despite having undergone eight surgical procedures thus far and “still looking at 5 or 6 more.”
While Mallory’s prognosis is that she might remain paralyzed from the waist down for the rest of her life, Wilson said her latest surgery was successful and should allow her to “at least sit upright.”
The single-elimination, 7-on-7 football competition — for ages 14 and older — will take place at Northwest Escambia Bradberry Park (4760 County Rd 99A, McDavid, Fla 32568). All minors must sign a waiver of liability.
Deadline for entry in the family-friendly event is Wednesday, December 15. Entry fee is $100 per team, and games will last 20 minutes (with two timeouts), on a 50-yard field. The “last team standing” will get its money back, and no fighting, arguing or other “drama” will be tolerated.
Those who want to donate but not enter a team may do so through Mallory’s GoFundMe account, PayPal, Venmo or Cash App. Cash donations may also be made at the tournament site or by messaging Darieon Gibson through his Facebook page.
For more information, or to enter a team, call 850-281-7167.