IT'S the phone call that every parent dreads - from the local hospital about a family member involved in a car accident.
When a 6.45am call came last Saturday to Deb and Darren King from a Warrnambool hospital nurse they learnt the chilling news that their 18-year-old son Jarrod had been injured.
He was a passenger in a car that overturned on a gravel road on Warrnambool's eastern outskirts about 5.30am.
Four other occupants of the vehicle were taken by ambulance to the hospital, but Jarrod was the most seriously injured.
When the initial hospital call was answered by Mrs King the prognosis sounded promising, but by the they arrived at the ward doctors had determined he had head injuries which required specialist care in Melbourne.
He was flown to the Royal Melbourne Hospital where surgeons performed a two-hour operation to remove a blood clot on the brain.
His parents locked the door of their family milk bar on Henna Street and drove to Melbourne, fearful of what awaited them. They arrived after the operation to find their son unconscious in the hospital's huge intensive care unit hooked to an array of tubes and medical equipment.
Yesterday, Jarrod was still in an induced coma.
"We just hope and pray he will come out of the coma OK," his parents said .
"We are struggling, but he's in the best hands .
''The only injury seems to be a bit of swelling on the brain.
"They removed the clot through an incision in the head. He's got a bit of pneumonia at the moment."
As they watch helplessly they are comforted by a daily stream of cards, telephone text messages and internet Facebook support from the community.
The teen has more than 1000 friends on Facebook.
Jarrod's 23-year-old sister, Jade Thwaites drove to Melbourne yesterday with a stack of cards sent to the family milk bar on Henna Street.
The King's marked four years in the store on Saturday only hours before the car smash.
“Jarrod used to help out and had a good relationship with lots of customers,” Mr King said.
“The community support has been amazing.
“When Jarrod wakes he’ll want to know what all the fuss was about.”
The milkbar has re-opened with a team of extended family members and friends chipping in.
“Lots of people have been inquiring about Jarrod’s health,” the King’s niece Nicki Farmer said from the shop yesterday.
Jarrod plays cricket with Brierly Cricket Club and was vice-captain of the Merrivale under 17 football team last season.
He recently started training with Koroit hoping for a spot in the under 18 team. Earlier this year he started a building industry apprenticeship.
Last week the young man completed his first study block at South West Institute of TAFE.
The police accident investigation unit from Melbourne visited the crash scene this week.
Police said they are awaiting blood tests on the driver.