Brantley (Ala.) football player back on field after near-death experience, 18 surgeries

Brantley (Ala.) football player back on field after near-death experience, 18 surgeries

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Brantley (Ala.) football player back on field after near-death experience, 18 surgeries

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How much would you fight to do the thing you loved most? For Brantley (Ala.) High School senior Jermany Salter, a freak accident wasn’t going to keep him from being where he most wanted to be – on the football field, with his Bulldog teammates.

Salter’s story is chronicled in a piece today on AL.com.

In the spring of 2015, Salter was thrown from the bed of a pick-up truck, landing on a barbed wire fence. He suffered severe lacerations to his neck and nearly bled to death while a teammate drove him seven miles to the nearest hospital.

“I didn’t want to give him false hope,” Brantley coach Ashley Kilcrease told AL.com. “He’d say, ‘Coach, I’m going to come back.’ I’d say, ‘You know, if there’s any way you can …’ I never dreamed he would be able to play.”

What began as a tragic tale has quickly become one of perseverance through adversity, of redemption. According to the AL.com story, it took more than 150 stitches to close Salter’s wound. Doctors had to perform a tracheotomy to open his airway and allow him to breath. The breathing tube remained in for over a year, and doctors initially believed Salter would need it for the rest of his life.

A 170-pound receiver and defensive back at the time of the accident, the 5-foot-11 Salter lost nearly 70 pounds, telling AL.com that he got down to 102.

“They said it’s a good chance I’d never play sports again,” Salter told AL.com.

Now, he’s back to 165 pounds. And he’s not merely dressing – he’s making contributions.

In Brantley’s 57-6 win at Pleasant Home on Sept. 9, quarterback and Vanderbilt commit Jacob Free took the shotgun snap and hit Salter on a slant for a 3-yard touchdown.

The TD connection was nothing short of a major moment for Salter, his family, and the program.

“It’s a blessing. It sure is,” Brantley senior Garrett Barksdale told AL.com. “We’re glad he’s there. God answered our prayers that he’d be back.”

Salter underwent his 18th surgery last week, and he may be on the field against Red Level tonight.

You can read Josh Bean’s entire piece on Salter’s improbable recovery here.

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Brantley (Ala.) football player back on field after near-death experience, 18 surgeries
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