Senior injured, out for season


Macen Stripling, Staff Writer

Thirteen yards. Fourteen yards. Fifteen yards. After receiving his first catch of the season, senior Russell Cross runs toward the end zone when suddenly tackled by a player from Trinity Christian. Teammates cheer for the good run, but the mood suddenly changes as Cross holds his knee rolling in pain.

“It felt like my knee got slammed in a car door,” Cross said.

Each player takes a knee, as Cross lays surrounded by coaches and trainers. Fans clap as he is transferred to a table to be checked out by sport medicine surgeon, Dr. Scott Hrnack. Trembling with pain, Cross doesn’t expect the news that is waiting for him.

“I was nervous for him; I wanted him to be okay,” senior, Jared Durdon said.

Shorty after being checked out, Cross was told that he tore his MCL and ACL. He covers his face and sheds a few tears; he wouldn’t be able to play anymore.

“The worst feeling is knowing I can’t play football; I can deal with the knee pain,” Cross said.

Later that night, Cross went to the hospital to control his pain.

“I was concerned about him; he is my best friend,” senior Ethan Currin said. “Russell is a big part of the team, I will miss making plays and memories with him every game.”

Close friends and family of Cross visit him at his house. No one knows his injury or when he will recover.

“I saw the same thing happen to Tyler a year ago on that same field,” head football Coach Kyle Story said.

Football is important to Cross. Even though he cannot, play he will support his team every Friday night from the sidelines.

“He has taught me to play my hardest in every play because you never know when that can be taken away,” Durdon said.

Players have been rotated around to fill in where Cross is taken out. Eddie Martinez was moved up from JV to help occupy the wide receiver position. Clark Allen is playing the punting position Cross played.

“You never know when someone isn’t going to be there; the next guy has to step up,” Story said.

A week later, on Friday morning, Cross faced his first surgery to unwrap his MCL from his meniscus and anchor it back to his bone. For now, Cross uses crutches and a long brace to help him move around.

“Doing every-day things has become challenging,” he said.

In two months, he will have a second surgery to fix his ACL. Between now and then he will remain busy with doctor appointments and physical therapy.

“I won’t be fully recovered for eight months,” Cross said.

Missing school became hard for Cross. Not seeing his friends and catching up with his work is difficult. He has a long road of healing ahead of him.

“We hope he has a good recovery and we have been praying for him,” Story said.

Story has dealt with many injuries throughout his coaching career and hopes the boys will always try their best. Cross has a strong support group standing behind him.

“Those things happen to people who can handle it; God never gives you something you can’t handle,” Story said.