LYONS FALLS After missing one year of high school football when South Lewis couldnt garner enough interest to field a team, Brandon DeLano was excited to return to the gridiron.
He and his fellow varsity football players headed to the Lowville Academy turf to face the Raiders in a scrimmage Aug. 25.
The junior was involved in a series of defensive plays before his team gained possession.
It was the first time I got the ball in my hands, Brandon recalled of the tragic event that was to follow. When the Lowville defense slipped past his line, I had no where to go. I was trapped.
Brandon went down, tackled by several of his opponents. The result of the hit is a long list of injuries: broken tibia, stretched peroneal nerve, damage to the anterior cruciate ligament, posterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament, main artery damage and venous insufficiency.
Those who have viewed the video of the hit report not being able to stomach watching it, though it may help doctors understand how the injuries occurred.
For the DeLanos, its helped them understand.
It was all just a freak accident, Brandon said.
His parents, Mike and Maria, are driving him to his many doctor appointments, therapy sessions and surgeries.
He had been attending school for an abbreviated three-hour day, but returned full-time last week.
Doctors have told him hell be unable to participate in any sports for at least one full year, which is frustrating for an active 11th-grader like Brandon.
Its driving me crazy. I cant just get out and go for a run. I dont know what to do anymore, he said.
He continued to support his team, attending home football games and was able to participate in the homecoming dance, hitting the dance floor in a wheelchair.
As for his prognosis, doctors are hopeful, but dont have any answers yet other than that more surgeries on the horizon.
His big toe and neighboring toe remain numb, along with the top of his foot. He currently suffers from drop foot, a result of the peroneal nerve damage. Odds of him of recovering full use of that foot are 50/50.
A spaghetti dinner benefit to help defray the travel and medical expenses is scheduled for noon to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Port Leyden Fire Hall.
To make a donation or for more information, contact Chris Chaufty (348-2521 or firstname.lastname@example.org).