(INSIDE EDITION)- A 15-year-old high school baseball player was attacked while walking home by two men who beat him into unconsciousness and left him in an alley, authorities said.
The brutal attack on Evan Jimenez left the teen clinging to life last week and tethered to a respirator. On Monday, doctors removed the ventilator and the boy was breathing on his own, but it will be a long and painful road to recovery, a family friend told InsideEdition.com.
"He's not recognizable. I did not know who that was lying there" in a Los Angeles County hospital bed, Tammy Meyers. Her son and Jimenez play on the San Pedro High School junior varsity team.
The teen had left a friend's house and was walking home Friday about 10 p.m. when he was approached by two men who apparently asked if he belonged to a gang, she said.
When the boy said he wasn't a member, the men beat him with their fists and smashed a whiskey bottle over his head and face, Meyers said.
He suffered severe bruising to his brain and body, multiple face fractures and will not be able to leave Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in the foreseeable future, she said.
His mother, Charlene Douthit, is a single mother "and I know she is struggling to make ends meet," Meyers said. "I said I would start a GoFundMe account to help, but I never imagined it would get this big of a response," she said.
The site has garnered more than $65,000.
"I want to help her in any way I can," Meyers said. The mom also has a young daughter about 6, she said.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is seeking witnesses to the attack.
"Everyone in our community is involved," she said.
Someone found Jimenez unconscious on the pavement and drove him to a local hospital "and left him there," Meyers said. The person did not leave a name or speak to hospital staff.
Meyers said he and her son have become friends, and grew close after another student was killed in a car accident.
"I saw a loving, quiet side of him. I just kind of took him under my wing. You don't see that in a lot of boys that age."