KIRTLAND, Ohio (WJW) -- Local high school football players came together for a very special fundraiser Wednesday night to help one of their own.
Former Kirtland High School football player Adam Hess, 23, sustained a life-changing injury last year.
Hess said he was at a relative's home on June 28, 2019 when he dived into a pool and realized he could not move. He likely hit his head at the bottom of the pool, paralyzing him. Since that day, he's remained hopeful he will walk again.
While Hess isn’t giving up on getting better, his alma mater and Coach LaVerde aren’t giving up on him.
Since Hess loved playing dodgeball, Coach LaVerde reached out to other football teams across northeast Ohio, asking them to participate in a fundraiser.
“When I sent out a text, hey this will be a cool thing to do they were very helpful sending teams,” Coach LaVerde told FOX 8 on Wednesday, “There are ten schools that are here tonight, and I appreciate all of the head coaches that took the time to get a team together.”
Hess is also extremely thankful and overwhelmed by the outpouring of support.
“It means a ton, it’s hard to put into words how much it means,” said Hess.
Hess says he will continue working on his rehabilitation and hopes to one day be well enough to join his team back on the court playing dodgeball.
“That’s the goal. Hopefully, we have this tournament again I’m back out there,” said Adam.
This is the third time the high school football teams have come together for a dodgeball tournament to benefit a student or former student facing a serious medical injury or crisis.
Players say, never has getting hurt and hit by a dodgeball, or helping someone been so much fun.
“It’s a good time and a good cause for Adam,” said Michael Alfieri, Kirtland H.S Senior.