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Near tragedy becomes modern-day ‘miracle’

At a quarter till four, on Tuesday, Oct. 21, Deloris Kinghorn received the phone call that every parent fears.

Her 14-year-old son Brian, ’12, was in an ambulance en route downtown to Fresno Community Trauma Center.

“My first question was ‘is it legs? arms? or what?'” Deloris said. “All they told me was ‘it’s bad.’ The minute the trauma center was mentioned, I was very scared and upset. I just kept saying ‘please God, no.'”

Kinghorn had suffered a concussion at the JV football practice following an authoritative blow to the head and neck during a two-on-one “mirror drill.”

“We were doing a tackling drill, and all I remember is going in for a hit with my head down,” Kinghorn said. “Next thing I know I wake up in the emergency room. I was very scared and confused because I didn’t know what was going on.”

It took about four hours for Kinghorn to have any feeling or move his legs.

“During this time, I was scared and not sure if I was gonna be able to walk or move my legs ever again,” Kinghorn said. “I was scared because my life has been all about sports, and without sports, I do not know what I would do.”

The event shocked the coaching staff, including head JV coach Robert Foshee, into action.

“I saw Brian go down and hurried to evaluate the injury,” Foshee said. “When I realized the seriousness of his condition, I went into automatic mode in caring for him and calling 911, but also began praying God’s power into his body. My new name for Brian is ‘Lazarus’ after reading John 11:38-43.”

As the outside linebacker/punter was whisked away by paramedics, both the varsity and JV teams knelt in a player-led prayer session for their fallen teammate.

“When it first happened I thought he just got the wind knocked out of him,” quarterback/defensive lineman Justin Wilson said. “It didn’t hit me at first what was going on, but when the ambulance arrived I knew the whole team had to start praying. It was very scary – we didn’t know if he was going to be okay or not.”

Athletic director Chris Schultz arrived on the scene as the varsity and JV teams broke into several smaller prayer groups.

“I was very proud of all the young men on the team and the way they handled the situation emotionally and physically,” Schultz said. “They showed a great deal of love.”

When coach Bill McGowen arrived on the field immediately after the play, he thought Kinghorn may be permanently injuried.

“Football players are prone to dehydration and can get injured when they put their heads down incorrectly just before they are tackled,” McGowen said. “I really thought, the way Brian lay there, that he had a c-spine injury.”

The paramedics’ initial analysis of the injured athlete was that Kinghorn could be quadriplegic for the rest of his life, the hospital MRI failed to show serious damage to his spinal cord. Deloris attributed the results of the MRI to an unexplainable miracle of God.

“I truly believe the prayers had something to do with it,” Deloris said. “How do you explain the symptoms Brian experienced, then have the MRI show nothing? There’s got to be something else there. I do feel that it was a miracle.”

On doctor’s orders, Kinghorn cannot participate in any physical activity for six months due to a severe concussion, and must be “very cautious” of any strenuous activity for two weeks. With the added restriction of not lifting more than 10 pounds, the athlete cannot even carry his backpack in the days to come.

Despite the accident, Kinghorn, who has been playing football since the 6th grade, says he will be returning to the sport “for sure” next season, and also plans on playing baseball and golf during his years in high school.

For the remainder of the season, Kinghorn will stand on sideline of an Eagles squad that boasts a 5-1 record and a decisive win over Division III Fresno High.

For the first time in school history, the JV will be the only team in uniform for the Eagles’ league game verses Fowler, as the number-deprived varsity team has become an eleven-man roster. Administration decided to cancel the varsity game against the Redcats.

According to Schultz, the practice field incident depicts the presence of God in the midst of a challenging football season.

“I really believe that God took one of the lowest points in our school’s history and turned it into a story of his love and faithfulness,” Schultz said. “To find out the power of a bunch of teenagers’ prayers had a hand in keeping Brian alive was moving to me.”

The JV team looks to keep alive a five-game winning streak and an undefeated league season against a 5-1 Fowler team, Oct. 24, at Clark Intermediate. Game time is 6 p.m.

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  • K

    Katie BakerMay 17, 2010 at 6:59 am

    It was soo funny! Katie, Bri, and I were just walking up the stairs during lunch, then you hear, “Dang it! Has someone vandalized my locker again?” So she practically ran to her locker and said, “That wasn’t that before! Who did this?” “Oh, that’s my sister’s O.” LOL! “Has someone vandalized my locker again”!


  • K

    Katie BarisicMay 17, 2010 at 6:59 am

    Thank you, Wilhelmina and Amazon. I love my locker… nobody has ever decorated it before. Have you been planning this? … I feel old.