High School Football Player Sidelined by Head Injury

BEREA, Ohio — Friday Night Football is underway across Northeast Ohio. But, already in week one, a scare on the field leaves many wondering if a Berea player would ever walk again.

A competitive game was going on between the John Hay High School Hornets and the Berea Braves Friday night. Berea Head Football Coach Matt Wilson said the lead went back and forth. 

“John Hay came out and took the lead over. And, then we took the momentum back,” Coach Wilson said. 

But, spiritedness of the game turned serious on one play late in the game. Berea Wide Receiver Cody Royster goes for the ball and is hit hard. The helmet-to-helmet collision knocked him out. The 17-year-old lay motionless on the ground, silencing the crowd. 

“You see a kid laying the kind of motionless for a little while.  It’s a horrible feeling,” Coach Wilson said. 

Cody had lost consciousness. Eventually, he was awakened by the sound of his athletic trainer Beau Kinnaird. 

“I think he was shocked that he had gotten hit–that he was hurt. He was breathing heavy and tried to calm himself down,” Kinnaird said.

Cody says he doesn’t remember much from the game. “All I remember was jumping in the air for the ball. That’s it. After that I don’t remember anything.”

And, while he doesn’t remember being hit, he does remember being scared. 

“The trainer woke me up and I couldn’t move at all. I thought I was paralyzed to be honest with you. I didn’t think that I would be able to play again or walk again. I was scared.”

Tests confirm Cody suffered a concussion. He was out of the hospital Saturday and felt well enough to watch a Berea Soccer game. He said he will not let what happened keep him from playing football. Once he’s medically cleared, Cody intends to go right back on the field. 

“Just play my hardest as soon as I get back,” he added. 

The Berea Braves went on to win the game 33 – 29.  But, to this team, it is what it did not lose that is more important than the score.


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