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High School Highlight
High School Highlight
It was the first game of the season, I was starting on varsity. Coming out of the locker room to stretch and warm-up, I was fueled by the roaring of the large crowd and the loud music playing in the stadium. After stretching, we got in four lines of wide receivers to run routes, so we could get some practice before we played our rival, the Strom Thurmond Rebels. I was in the far line right next to the away sideline. I could feel the hundreds of eyes laying on me. I ran a check route. The quarterback clapped his hands and the ball was snapped. I pushed vertical 14 yards before breaking out toward the sideline. The next few moments would change my life forever.
When I made my break, the ball was thrown behind me. I should have let it go since we were only in pregame, but instead I decided to catch the ball. As I leaned back to catch the ball, my right foot got stuck in the ground, my left leg extended out and I fell all the way back on my right one. From that point forward, I didn’t hear the crowd, didn’t hear the music, all I heard was the loud beat of my heart and the heaviness of my breath. All I could focus on was the pain in my hip. I got up and limped back to my line. The coach blew the whistle telling us to go to our defensive group. Our team has to jog to everywhere we go, we call it “a sense of urgency”. So, I jogged slowly to my outside linebacker group. I could barely do my drills. Coach Irick told me to go sit down. I limped to the home sideline where I was met by the trainer. He proclaimed that it was probably only a hip pointer,and at most he said I might have torn my IT band. The rest of the game I was standing on the sideline and I couldn’t stay still, I was shaking back and forth. At the end of the game I was put on crutches for the first time in my life.
I’ve never had a longer school year. I attended my first day on crutches. Everyone was asking me what happened. All of my classes were so spaced out. By the end of the day, I was exhausted. My best friend, Tiara, helped a lot. She carried my book bag wherever I needed to go. I went to my athletic trainer, and he sent me to a doctor in Lexington, Doctor Plymale. He sent me in for x-rays. When the results came back, it was determined that I have a bad case of hip impingement syndrome. I know. It sounds made up, that’s what I thought until he started talking about surgery. I didn’t want to go ahead and do it, I wanted to finish the football season. So they gave me a cortisone shot to hold off the pain. It didn’t even last a month. I played in 3 games and then against Ninety Six, I was diagnosed with a concussion after having 3 lineman fall on my head. My season was done. After the shot wore off and having a concussion, I decided to go ahead and see about having surgery. I missed so many days of school, I was almost going to fail.
It was a new year, I finally started to get some results. I was sent for a CT scan. It came back that I had a rim fracture in my hip. The doctor in Columbia said he could no longer do the surgery I needed. He gave my mom a few doctors’ names. The closest one was in Charlotte, North Carolina. So we called and got an appointment. We made the 2 and a half hour drive and met doctor Casey. She was the sweetest woman you could ever meet. She was very up-beat and cheerful. She walked in and drew a picture of what we needed to do on the paper that was lying on the bed. I’ll never forget when she walked out the room and yelled out “we’re doing surgery!” They gave me a packet to read about surgery. They told me what time I had to stop eating and drinking the night before and we made the long trip back home. I was scheduled to have surgery on Wednesday, March 13, 2019 at 8 in the morning.
Instead of getting up super early to drive to Charlotte, we just stayed in a hotel the night before. When we got there, I layed in bed and called my girlfriend, Ni’Jai. My mom and dad got everything settled in and they asked me what I wanted to eat since I couldn't eat after 10. I looked at the menu and decided that I wanted a steak and mozzarella sticks. My parents went to pick up the food while I watched tv. When they got back we all sat at the small table in the kitchen area and ate our food. Later that night, My dad was getting many phone calls from people that wanted to talk to me. I was so nervous, I barely slept that night.
Finally, it was the big day. I woke up and put on my pajama pants and my white t-shirt. We got all of our stuff together and left the hotel. We got to the hospital at 6:30 like we were instructed to do. It was busy, so we didn’t get seen until about 9 o’clock. We got back into the room and the nurse came in to get me prepped. She gave me a gown and after I put it on she put my IV in. We were watching Mary Poppins Returns. When she started pumping that medicine through the IV, I felt good! Everything looked crooked and Mary Poppins became more enjoyable. She asked me if I was ready and rolled me back to the operating room.
When we got there, it was like I got abducted by aliens. There were huge round lights, about 4 doctors wearing masks, and a handful of tools. They moved me onto the other bed and put an oxygen mask on my chest. All I remember is trying to lean my head up and breathe in the air. Next thing I know, I was out cold.
I woke up in the recovery room. My mom and dad came to talk to me. The nurses were nice, they asked me if I was okay, and constantly asked if I needed anything. I wasn’t really in any pain. It was supposed to be outpatient, but I ended up staying the night. Little did I know that would be the longest night of my life. The pain started coming in, I was adjusting my bed every 5 minutes, every time I fell asleep a nurse would wake me up. They put some pain medicine in my IV and I started having muscle spasms in my surgery leg, which was really painful.
The worst part of this all was around 1 in the morning. I was woken up by one of the nurses and she said that I needed to use the bathroom. She brought the urinal to me and I tried to use it but I couldn’t. She came in with the catheter and I was not happy at all. I took the urinal from between my legs and my dad woke up just in time to see it fly across the room, my mom woke up when it hit the ground. I feel sorry for the nurse, but she remained calm and sweet. My mom and dad talked to me and told me I needed to let them do it or I could get a UTI. It was a tough moment, I was crying already and my dad walked out the room. Before they got started, I asked where my dad was and they called him back into the room. I told him to hold my hand. As they proceeded, my mom was in tears, I was squeezing my dad’s hand tightly. When they were done I finally got to get some sleep.
The next day, I woke up and ate my breakfast, I used the bathroom, and got ready to get through the day. I was laying in bed and a woman I hadn’t met yet came into the room. It was the physical therapy woman. She came to see if I could walk using a walker or crutches. She suggested that we put medicine in my IV and she come back later when it settled in, but I was eager to get out of the hospital. I told her, “I think I’ll just do it”. She brought the walker to the left side of the bed and showed me the correct way to get up. I used my arms to lift myself off the surface of the bed and slide closer to the edge. My dad guided my surgery leg as I moved. When I got to the edge, I had to use my abdominal muscles to lean up and turn. I got in between the two sides of the walker and successfully made it to the other side of the bed. Once I stopped I grew light headed and needed to sit down. My mom helped me down into the chair and they gave me a cool rag to place around my neck. The physical therapy woman said, “wow you did such a good job, I’m amazed. Most people would have wanted medicine before doing something like that.” She got my release papers and I was set to go home.
It was a long ride home. We hit so many bumps, every time we hit one it hurt. My dad was driving, I was in the passenger seat, and my mom was in the back. When we finally got home, they helped me out of the car and into the house. I layed on the couch and everyone stayed away from my leg except helping move it. There were a few times where the dogs jumped on me, I was in excruciating pain. The next day me and my dad were going to a memorial service. I fell coming out the door, my foot slammed into the front porch, I yelled out, “ahhhhhhh”. I started to say something else, but I quickly realized my dad was behind me, I was in so much pain. It scared my mom, I have never seen her move so fast.
After 6 weeks of using a walker, I began physical therapy. I went three times a week. It really helped a lot. I kept pushing myself and eventually I was able to walk normally. When I went back to the doctor, she cleared me to play football. The following day, we had a 7 on 7 at PC. The first 4 or 5 games I was watching closely and learning the play calls. The coach finally put me in and I made a falling catch for 7 yards. I landed right on my hip, it burned a little but it was okay. I kept working hard and paying attention during practice so that I'd be ready when I got in.
We finally got out of the preseason and the coaches decided to put me on JV to see how my hip would hold up. A lot of people in shock asked me, “you’re still playing football?”. I always told them that I didn’t play all those years just to give up my dream. Now I’m the starting quarterback for the JV football team. My hip is holding up great and I’ve never played better. We are 2 - 0 as of now.
I’ve made my highschool career about helping others. I help talented athletes improve their grades in school, and I’ve spent a lot of time with the Special Ed kids at the school. Seeing their smile is amazing, and knowing it’s because of me is just unbelievable. I’m in pain most of the time, but seeing them smile makes me happy. I’ve become a great leader and also a good listener. This journey has really taught me a lot about myself and the person I’m turning out to be is amazing. I want to continue to improve and do good for myself and others around me.