Royal return for Waggener football player after traumatic brain injury

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by Chelsea Rabideau

WHAS11.com

Posted on September 27, 2013 at 11:24 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 27 at 11:47 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Just a couple weeks ago, Jacob Quaife was in the hospital undergoing emergency brain surgery after being hit on the football field.

Friday night, the 17-year-old Waggener High School running back and safety returned to the field to quite a homecoming. He was on the sidelines this time, but crowned a king.

Homecoming night is pretty special on its own. But, this year, for Waggener High School’s football team, homecoming took on a whole new meaning. One of their own, coming back to the team he loves after an injury that nearly cost him everything.

Jacob Quaife wore his number 2 jersey like a cape as he walked back onto the field where a couple of hard hits nearly killed him. “I just have somebody looking over me,” he explained.

Jacob’s family made t-shirts for this special night. His mother Stacie proudly watching as her son took the field with the pain and torture of his injury still fresh in her mind. “Incredibly, incredibly scary, traumatizing,” she said as she recalled the past couple weeks, “A lot of up and down emotions, a lot of depression ,a lot of worry and fear.”

Jacob joined his fellow team captains at the center of the field for the coin toss, smiling, thrilled to be back. “It means a lot,” he said, laughing, “I just want to be here to support my team.”

He took in the game from the sidelines. But, his heart is still out on that field. His goal, despite his mom’s worries, is to get back out there before the season is over. “She knows that I want t, that’s my main goal. But, uh, I don’t know how she’s going to feel about it,” explained Jacob. His mom has a ready response: “I think he has a brain injury, he’s not thinking clearly.”

He left the field with his life hanging in the balance. But, he returned a king…Homecoming king.

Jacob says he still has headaches, but feels very blessed that the injury didn’t affect his memory or his motor functions. His parents say it might take time for him to realize just how close he came to death. He still has work to do. Soon, he’ll be starting cognitive therapy, which could be a painful process. The Quaife’s are taking it all one day at a time.

 

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