DALLAS - Derekscott "Bubba" Kirby, a three-year-old who was featured in a WFAA report after contracting a life-threatening infection while "Mutton bustin,'" gained an Internet following called "Bubba's Angels."
Mutton bustin' is an old Texas tradition for the youngest rodeo riders to hop up on sheep and try to hang on as long as they can. But, when Bubba had his very short ride on a sheep at a rodeo in West Texas, he swallowed some dirt, and an E.coli infection caused a cascade of problems for the young boy that ultimately led to a stroke.
Bubba was transferred from an Austin hospital to spend several weeks at Our Children's House, a Baylor Hospital rehabilitation facility in Dallas. By his side, Bubba's mother hopes the rehab will help in giving her son his life back.
"Neurologists tell us he does understand," said Deven Denman, Bubba's mother. "It's just the speaking he can't do. So, much of his brain was unharmed by the stroke. He hears us and understands but can't speak back, and that's his frustration."
Bubba's mom said one of her son's arms is also drawn up.
"They say this is going to be the hardest part, learning how to walk and talk and eat," she said.
But, his life is no longer in danger. His mother brought him to North Texas, where Bubba can also feel the love of grandparents and other relatives.
Then there are Bubba's Angels, who have sold T-shirts, washed cars and reached thousands through the Internet to help Bubba's mother stay by his side.
"We're all very grateful for them, very grateful," she said.