By Craig Day, News On 6
TULSA, OK -- An injured football player was honored on Friday night by his teammates and fans. Sterling Willis is still in the hospital after collapsing during a game last Friday.
Senior night is always a memorable night for high school student athletes. This night was extra special for all the athletes on the field, but also one who wasn't there.
"We just want him to know that we love him and that we're praying for him and that we're standing by him and staying strong with him and stuff," said Will Retherford.
Everyone wore shirts with the number 13 on them; they're honoring Sterling Willis, who is in intensive care. Willis had a promising college football career in his future.
During last week's game, he took a hard hit to the side of the head. The senior linebacker collapsed later in the game.
"Shock, shock in the fact that this had happened, but awe in what we knew God was going to do for him," said Victory Christian Principal Karen Sanders.
Doctors removed a blood clot from his brain.
So on a night so special to these teens, Sterling isn't able to be here. But he isn't far from his Victory Christian teammate's hearts, thoughts and prayer.
"We hope that all the negative emotions he's had from it and the sorrow he's had from it, we hope it can take some of that away," said teammate Jason Turner.
The show of support and prayer means a lot to Sterling's family.
"We've been just so overwhelmed by friends and family and everything going on. It's more than words can express to be honest with you," said Sterling's mom, Beth Willis.
Though he couldn't be there in person, his teammate's say he was there in spirit. They look forward to the day he's out of the hospital and alongside them again.
Sterling Willis was taken off the ventilator and is improving. He's able to talk to his family, and smile and laughing. He'll likely be in ICU through the weekend.
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