TIPTON — By his own description, Austin Hooker was “numb.”
After trying to shake off a tackler in Tipton’s Week 2 game against Elwood, the southpaw quarterback hurt his non-throwing wrist on his way to the ground.
A trip to the hospital and subsequent X-ray images revealed his worst fears: A broken radius.
“The pain, not knowing how long I was going to be out – at first I assumed it would be the season,” Hooker said. “I wasn’t sure. Everything was just numb.”
His coach was just as crushed. Aaron Tolle watched as, without Hooker the following four weeks, The Blue Devils went 1-3, including a three-game skid that slid the team back to 3-3 after a 3-0 start.
“It wasn’t a very good feeling,” Tolle said. “I had a multitude of things going through my mind. I know how much I think of this senior class and what our aspirations where for the season. And, on that one play, I wasn’t sure if all of that had gone up in smoke.”
Hooker was determined to make sure opponents hadn’t heard the last of him. He had surgery the Tuesday following the injury, and at 3 p.m. later that day, instead of resting off the surgery at home, he went to football practice to be with his team. He began rehabilitating his arm nearly the instant doctors cleared him to.
“You have to know Austin to understand,” Tolle said. “Most other kids would want people to feel sorry for him, but not Austin. He knew he needed to be out in front of his team and show he was going to be okay and that he was on the way back. That’s the kind of kid he is. That’s what he stands for. Our kids certainly rally around him, there’s no doubt about that.”