Shoals student suffers severe brain injury playing Knockerball
LAUDERDALE COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - A Shoals student is fighting for his life after suffering a serious brain injury playing the popular game Knockerball.
A community prayer was held after school Monday for Hunter Smith, a freshman at Rogers High School. His family said he's in a medically induced coma at Children's Hospital in Birmingham.
Knockerball is a fairly new sport where people are in an all-encompassing, clear, bubble suit and get knocked around for fun.
Close to 300 people came to pray for his healing.
Classmates describe Smith as someone who just brightens up a room while coaches said he's a wonderful athlete.
Greenhill and surrounding communities are lifting up prayers for Smith.
"We call us a football family, and Hunter was a very big part of that," said head football coach Randall Martin.
"We never expected anything like this, We thought Rogers, but not Lexington or Brooks like all of the other schools, are coming together. People that don't even know us, like people out of Alabama are messaging us," said Hunter's sister, Jordan Quarters.
At first, his family thought Hunter just had a concussion, but his sister said it was much worse. He's undergone multiple brain surgeries at Children's of Alabama after being hurt on Thursday.
"It just a freak accident and it's very unfortunate, and, you know, its tough to deal with," Martin said.
"It's been used on our campus for other fundraisers in the past and in the community, but it was the first time it was school supportive," said Rogers High School Principal David Matthews.
Mathews said he's been busy with students and staff coming up with ways to support Smith's family.
"Its really laying heavy on the students' hearts and they are doing everything they can to step up and it makes me very proud of them," he said.
As the community leans on one another, they ask for others to join with them.
"We miss him right now, but we are praying for him for a full recovery and that's what we are hoping for," Martin said. "He's one of those guys that is good to everyone. He's got a lot of friends, very popular, very nice kid, never in any trouble. He's an absolute joy to be around."
"He's gotten me through a lot of stuff," Quarters said. "He's been a stickler, you know, if there was anything I needed to talk about, Hunter was there. He was the one to talk to."
The football coach plans to take a bus full of students to Birmingham to see Hunter Friday. Fellowship of Christian Athletes put the prayer-gathering together and plans to sell T-shirts for medical bills to help as well. There is also a steak dinner fundraiser on April 29 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Rogers lunchroom.
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