South Gwinnett player suffers spinal injury

Published: September 23, 2007  |  Source: ajc.com
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image_5878025A South Gwinnett High School football player underwent a second surgery Monday morning after suffering a spinal cord injury in a game last week that left him unable to walk.

He has been identified in news reports as Arquevious Crane, an 11th grader at the school. He was injured Thursday in a junior varsity game against Buford High School.

“There is some movement (in the arms) and the family’s obviously hoping that things will get better,” said South Gwinnett principal Berry Simmons.

Simmons said he went to see Crane over the weekend at Children’s Health of Atlanta at Scottish Rite, where hospital officials said Monday he was in serious condition.

Simmons said the atmosphere at the school was “better today, obviously, with the weekend, but he’s obviously on a lot of people’s thoughts today.”

South Gwinnett coach John Small told WSB-TV that Crane “was fighting for extra yards and took a hit from the front. A hit that you see everyday in practice. Nothing malicious about it or out of the ordinary. A good clean hit. He went to the ground and right away you knew something wasn’t right, the way he went to the ground.”

“He’s an exceptional kid with a great attitude,” Small said. “A competitor, an upbeat kid. A tough kid. And he’s fighting right now.”

South Gwinnett’s junior varsity team is scheduled to play at Shiloh High School this Thursday.

Scottish Rite officials would not comment further on Crane’s condition.

Dr. Scott D. Boden, director of the Emory Spine Center, who is familiar with injuries like the one Crane may have suffered said “these kind of injuries can happen at any age.”

Boden has not been involved in Crane’s situation but said such injuries on the field most commonly result from improper tackling techniques. Neither coaching staff at South Gwinnett nor hospital officials have confirmed how Crane was injured.

“Sometimes there is no motion in the first 24 to 48 hours because the spine is still recovering from the shock,” said Boden.

Meanwhile, students at South Gwinnett will gather for prayer Wednesday morning for a student-led prayer service, known as “See You at the Pole.” The prayer service was scheduled long before the football player’s injury as part of See You at the Pole, an effort that began in 1990 in Texas and has spread across the nation.

The event, scheduled held the fourth Wednesday in September, provides students with an opportunity to pray for their classmates, school, families or the country. Student members of South Gwinnett’s chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, is organizing the campus’ participation in the event this year, district spokeswoman Sloan Roach.

AJC staff writers Curtis Bunn and Laura Diamond contributed to this story.