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Kaiser overcomes preseason injury

Eleven agile and determined players stand huddled around the quarterback as they prepare to desecrate the unexpecting defense with a strategic aerial assault.

As the huddle breaks, a handful of receivers depart and line up in accordance with their planned routes.

The crowd grows quiet as the ball spirals from the center’s hands into the grasp of senior quarterback Carson Belmont.

Belmont drops back and throws the ball towards Andrew Kaiser, ’05, who stands on the far right side of the field, just off the sidelines. Kaiser seizes the ball from the air and runs it in for a triumphant touchdown.

Fans and teammates alike burst into cheers as the Eagles take the lead against their Firebaugh rivals.

For Kaiser, his first touchdown was a memorable feat. Only weeks before he had been sidelined after an injury to his spinal cord that left the bone split with small hairline fractures.

The injury occurred during a pre-season scrimmage against McLane High. Kaiser played cornerback and ran deep for a pass.

“I ran for a 15-yard pass and dove to catch the ball, but landed flat on my stomach, Kaiser said. “”I felt a sharp snap as my spinal cord cracked under the impact.”

Severe as this injury was, it pales in contrast to the injury Kaiser sustained during his sophomore year. During football practice he was slammed to the ground by an older, bigger player.

Kaiser was rushed to the hospital, where he remained in intensive care for days as the doctors carefully monitored his bruised heart and punctured liver. This injury sidelined him for the entire year.

“”I remember visiting Andrew in the hospital after he was hurt,”” Hillary Kell, ’05, said. “”My friends and I spent a lot of time hanging out in his hosptial room, keeping him company. It was scary to have one of my good friends in the hospital for such serious injuries; we were all really worried about him.””

Even though he has been medically cleared, Kaiser plays through pain every day.

“My spinal cord has almost completely healed, although every day I still feel the pain that comes with the severity of the injury,” Kaiser said.

After sitting out the first half of the season, Kaiser has returned to the field where his teammates value his endurance.

“”I really appreciate Andrew’s willingness to continue to come out to the field despite his many injuries,”” Belmont said. “”I’m really impressed with his willingness to help, whether it’s by playing when he’s healthy or by helping out on the sidelines when he’s not. Andrew’s got an amazing work ethic, and I admire that.””

Even spectators appreciate Kaiser’s contributions to the team.

“”Andrew’s story is just incredible,”” Kell said. “”He’s been hurt so often, but he never uses his status as an invalid for an excuse. He works his hardest, even when he’s hurt. He’s the most tenacious athlete I’ve ever met.””

Jon Hall, varsity football head coach, has only praise for Kaiser.

“Andrew is a hard worker and is dedicated to the team,”” Hall said. “”These qualities have given us the necessitates needed to carry on and eventually conquer our opposing teams.”

The touchdown Kaiser made against Firebaugh stands as his first, and offers him the strength and confidence needed to succeed during the remaining games of his senior year.

“I’ve been playing football ever since I was a freshman and have seen many players strive for excellence,”” Kaiser said. “”Although this year’s team may be small in numbers, we still has a lot of heart, despite our many injuries,” Kaiser said.

The end of the football season will be finalized by the team’s last game against Tranquility on Nov. 12.

For more information contact the high school office at 299-1695, ext. 5.

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