Head Injury Won't Stop Victory Athlete

Tuesday, January 13th 2009, 10:41 pm
By: News On 6

By Chris Wright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- A Victory Christian athlete is completing what some are calling a miraculous recovery.  In October, senior Sterling Willis suffered a massive head injury during a football game.  It may have ended his football career, but the 18-year-old is still starring in another sport.

The simple act of running out onto the floor is quite an accomplishment for Sterling Willis.  The fact that the 18-year-old senior was able to play in Victory Christian's game Tuesday night, he'll tell you, is nothing short of amazing.

"Two months ago, whenever it was, I was lying in a hospital bed, with things hooked up to me all over.  Now I'm out here playing basketball," said Sterling Willis.

Sterling ended up in that hospital bed October 24th.  Football is his first love, and he was being recruited by several big-time universities.  But, early in a game against Inola, the Victory standout suffered a head injury.   No one knew how serious it was until Sterling collapsed, and officials say, almost died.

"Painful, a lot of hurt, lot of frustration.  You wish you could trade places with him because you'd much rather be there yourself," said Sterling's father, Joe Willis.

Sterling spent more than three weeks in the hospital, and doctors had to remove part of his skull.  He was told his dreams of playing college football may be over, but playing basketball was still a possibility.  Almost immediately after his surgeries, that's what he did.

"They removed 67 stitches from his head that morning, and he went to practice that afternoon.  He played three games last week," said Sterling's mother, Beth Willis.

On Tuesday, before his family, friends, and appreciative fans, Sterling played in his first Victory home game.  He says he isn't bitter about what happened, but instead hopes his story will inspire others trying to rebound from serious injury.

"Stuff like this doesn't happen to teenagers. Just hearing it makes you want to fight more and live your life for good," said Sterling Willis.

Sterling is still not sure where he will be going to school next year.

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10/31/2008  Injured Victory Player Honored