One Rock Bridge Bruin wasn’t on the field Friday night to watch his team shock No. 2 Hickman. He wasn’t able to rejoice to the chants of “district champs” or run into the arms of his teammates and fans as many of the Bruins did.
Instead, this Bruin was listening to the game on the radio from his hospital bed. He could only hear and imagine in his mind what was happening.
On Oct. 7 against Francis Howell Central, senior cornerback Tyler McDannold suffered a concussion in the first quarter. Since the injury, McDannold had been having post-concussion problems, including headaches, that prevented him from being cleared to play. He had been regularly coming to practice to support his teammates, but on Wednesday, McDannold visited the doctor because he was still having headaches. After neurological tests, doctors originally feared that McDannold had an aneurysm, but after being re-examined, he and the Bruins received better news. McDannold has a viral infection in his spine which is treatable by antibiotics.
Defensive coordinator Justin Conyers said McDannold is still having headaches and being treated in the hospital. He is expected to recover.
“I think they’re going to keep him there until they get his headaches under wrap,” Conyers said.
Although McDannold wasn’t at the game, he was still there in the minds and hearts of the Bruins. They wore stickers of McDannold’s No. 24 on their helmets in support of their teammate.
“That was something that was really on our minds,” Bruins head coach A.J. Ofodile said after the game. “A lot of guys went to the hospital today to see him and I think we drew a lot of strength and a lot of inspiration from that by putting things in perspective of what’s really important.”
Quarterback Logan Gray said McDannold was on the minds of the team before and even during the game.
“We just wanted to put everything on the line for him because he was dealing with something we couldn’t imagine,” Gray said.
Inspired by their teammate, the Bruins came out with intensity proving to the Kewpies that they belonged on the field with them. They weren’t overwhelmed by playing in a college stadium against the No. 2 ranked team in the state. They didn’t care that Hickman had more than twice the amount of players they did. All they wanted, was to win for their friend.
“That was a huge source of our ability to come out and focus on having fun and playing because we’ve got a teammate that we love that was in a scary situation,” Ofodile said. “I just wanted to make sure he knew we were thinking about him this game.”