CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. -- The power of social media brightened the day Monday of an Albany-area teenager who was seriously injured in a two-car crash late Saturday night.
Matt Hardy, a 17-year-old Shenendehowa High School junior who was injured in the accident that claimed the lives of two fellow Shenendehowa students, was called in his hospital room just after 9 p.m. Monday by New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow after the hashtag #TebowCallMatt trended nationally on Twitter.
After the call, Hardy's brother, Michael, tweeted: "TIM TEBOW JUST GOT OFF THE PHONE WITH MATT! SUCH A CLASS ACT!!"
A few minutes later, Tebow tweeted: "Thanks to everyone who got #TebowCallMatt trending & helped connect us. Matt truly inspired me. God bless y'all."
Matt Hardy is a junior football, baseball and basketball player at Shenendehowa. He was upgraded to stable condition in Albany Medical Center on Monday night with a concussion and broken bones.
The two students killed in the crash were Shenendehowa seniors Chris Stewart and Deanna Rivers, both 17. Stewart played football and Rivers played softball at the school.
The other person in the crash, 17-year-old Bailey Wind from Shaker High School in the Albany area, remained hospitalized in serious condition Monday night with broken bones.
New York State Police said Dennis Drue, 22, of Clifton Park, caused the accident when he aggressively switched lanes and hit the back of the SUV driven by Stewart in the right-hand lane, causing the vehicle to swerve across the highway and into the median.
Drue, who failed an alcohol breath test at the scene, is likely to be charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter, according to police.
But Monday night, Matt Hardy got an emotional lift when he received the call from Tebow, and Hardy's friends were excited about it.
"It was awesome. You hear about these stories of professional athletes calling, but you never think it will happen to one of your best friends," said fellow Shenendehowa student and football player Connor Chatterton, a junior.
"It's just amazing that he [Tebow] would do that. How we all could contact him, then he could contact Matt," said Shenendehowa junior Taylor Hennigan. "Clearly, [Twitter] can do a lot."
"I think it meant a lot," junior Shannon McNall said of the call to Hardy. "What he'd been through the past two days is unimaginable. He deserved it."
Meanwhile, tweets urging Olympic swimmer Missy Franklin and Olympic diver Tom Daley to call Wind were trending on Twitter with the hashtag #MissyCallBailey and #DaleyCallBailey.