The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

Features

November 7, 2013

Praying for Al Jackson

GREENVILLE — Commerce’s Al Jackson is a senior wide receiver/defensive back, a former all-district selection who helps anchor a team that has had a lot to overcome this season. But wins and losses were the last thing on anyone’s mind Friday night during the Tigers’ homecoming game against Howe, following a collision that left Jackson motionless on the ground.

“I played football for 13 years and I’ve coached for more than 20, and I’ve never seen anything like that before,” Tigers Head Coach Scott Wells said. “We were all scared and worried sick for him. It puts everything in perspective.”

Jackson attempted to tackle a Howe ball carrier, but the angle he took caused the Howe players’ knee to go right into his neck.

“The hit forced his chin forward to his chest, causing a burst fracture of the C5 vertebrae, breaking the small bones in his chest and bruising his spinal chord,” his mother Teri Miller said.

He was careflighted to Plano Medical Center and underwent surgery Saturday morning that fused his C3-C6 vertebrae and cleaned up some tissue and muscle damage. Jackson’s condition improved on Sunday, and early this week he began slowly walking again with the aid of a walker. He will undergo six weeks of occupational therapy before he is reevaluated.

“Because of his will alone, he’s already pushed himself ahead of where anyone could fathom he would be,” Miller said. “If the doctors tell him to do something, he does it to the point of exhaustion.”

Jackson will never play football again, but he does hope to play basketball. According to Miller, that motivation is important to his recovery.

“With every obstacle he’s faced, without a ball in his hand, I don’t know if he’d been where he is today,” Miller said. “His driving force is to be back on the basketball court.”

Jackson dreamed of playing sports at the collegiate level since third grade, according to Miller. Which meant that when McNeese State quarterback Grant Ashcraft reached out to him on Facebook, it had a powerful impact on Jackson.

“As a brother in the football community, I wanted to send my prayers and best wishes,” Ashcraft wrote. “Just like football, this is a challenge God has put in front of you. He’s watching over you and will always be by your side. Hope you have a speedy and full recovery. God bless you Al.”

The Commerce community and others across the state have been extremely supportive of Jackson. A Facebook group, “Prayers for Al Jackson,” has more than 3,000 likes and counting. The Lady Tigers’ varsity volleyball program wore blue ribbons on Monday night in support of Jackson, while players and coaches from local high schools and colleges have expressed their support.

“Their support means a lot,” Wells said. “I know the Howe coach called me a couple of times, as did some of the officials from the game. I know it means a lot to Al to have everyone check on him and say ‘hi.’”

The Howe football team gave Jackson a signed jersey, and local schools are starting fundraising efforts to pay for his medical expenses. Bishop Union High School in California is dedicating the rest of its volleyball games to him and Commerce High School allowed everyone to wear Halloween costumes Thursday in exchange for a donation.

“He couldn’t believe that so many people care about what he’s doing,” Miller said. “It’s pretty nice to live in small town Texas.”

Jackson went home from the hospital on Oct. 29.

1
Text Only
Features
  • Vaderrobot.jpg Dallas champions, Robowranglers look forward

    Practicing with the best hones skills and keeps members of Greenville High School Robowranglers on point, according to Director of Robotics Adrienne Emerson.
    The Robowranglers are preparing their robot “Vader” for the FIRST World Championships in St. Louis on April 23-26.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • GMSVEX.jpg Gig-A-Bots win multiple trophies at nationals

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Merit.jpg This Lone Oak High School student has merit

     Gaston Luke Gilbert, a senior at Lone Oak High School, is the first student in the school’s history to be a finalist in the National Merit Scholarship Program.

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Colt1.jpg Reaching the people of Morocco for Christ

    Most students use their summer break to unwind and relax.
    Others see it as an opportunity to do something more.

    April 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Troy Dorsey.jpeg Dorsey, boxing greats to headline ‘Boxing With the Stars’

    On March 19, famous figures of the boxing world will all visit Texas A&M University-Commerce as part of the Boxing With the Stars event, a one-of-a-kind opportunity for A&M-Commerce students and local community members to meet and interact with some of the most important figures in boxing, both past, present and future.

    March 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 3-2-14_Brunch_feature_.jpg Providing a helping hand

    A mailbox decorated with Wisconsin license plates reading “Feases” makes it pretty clear who owns the quaint little one-story house on Kathy Lynn Place in Quinlan.

    March 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Do A Good Turn Daily

    March 10, 2014

  • Cokes Test 1.jpg Boxing greats to visit A&M-Commerce on March 19

    Curtis Cokes is a genuinely nice guy. Enter his gym in South Dallas, and he’ll greet you with a smile, a firm handshake, and one of his captivating stories, like the time he met Jackie Robinson during the Brooklyn Dodgers spring training camp in 1955.

    March 4, 2014 3 Photos

  • McCowan_Conrad_write_coloring_book.jpg Local coloring book salutes famous African-Americans

    Many of Hunt County’s historical African-Americans are celebrated in a coloring book published this month under the auspices of the Hunt County Historical Commission.

    February 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Titleholders_strike_pose.jpg Taking up residency

    They may not currently live in Hunt County, but the two new titleholders say they want to spend as much time in the county where they will be considered residents.

    February 19, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
Promotions
Poll

What's your favorite spring high school sport?

Swimming and diving
Wrestling
Basketball
Soccer
Tennis
Golf
Track and Field
Softball
Baseball
     View Results
Facebook
Must Read
Photos


See more photos and purchase prints here.

AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide