Bn Garbarkelk

Even though the injury bug is biting down hard on football teams nationwide this fall, don’t expect to see the Red and White shy away from any contact.

“It’s all part of the game of football,” said sophomore running back Andre Bratton. “If I get injured, I’ll work my way back.”

Senior running back Brandon Murphy, who currently is suffering from multiple knee injuries, said he doesn’t allow injures to impact him mentally while on the playing field.

“It’s always something you think about, it could happen,” he said. “But football is a game you can’t play cautious or timid or you’ll get hurt.”

One couldn’t blame the RedHawks for airing on the side of caution after a brutal start to the football season-not only for Miami University but for professional athletes in the NFL as well.

During the first game of the NFL season, Buffalo Bills tight end Kevin Everett was seriously hurt trying to make a tackle Sept. 9 against the Denver Broncos. He left the field paralyzed from the neck down and doctors were initially skeptical whether he’d ever be able to walk again.

Miami had a similar scare of its own this past weekend during the Battle for the Victory Bell game against the University of Cincinnati. Redshirt sophomore Wendell Brunson was carted off the field during an early fourth quarter drive by the Bearcats. Brunson attempted to tackle Cincinnati running back Butler Benton head first and didn’t get up after the hit. Brunson was placed on a backboard and taken away in an ambulance.

Fortunately for the RedHawks, Brunson’s injury was not as serious as originally thought and was back with the team the next day.

“When you see another teammate get injured, that’s one of your brothers going down,” Murphy said.

Murphy is currently sidelined with several knee injuries, including a torn ACL, but said there is still a slight chance he could return this season with a knee brace. Murphy missed four games last season and will undoubtedly miss more this year.

Bratton, Murphy’s backup, is also out indefinitely after tearing his PCL and patella tendon during the second quarter against UC.

While the Bills’ Everett has regained feeling in his legs and arms and his prognosis has dramatically improved, serious injuries like this are nothing new to football.

Gale Newton, Miami’s head athletic trainer for the past 28 years, has seen injuries in many different sports during his tenure.

“Hockey is probably the most dangerous with the players and the boards,” he said, “but football ranks up there in the number of serious injuries.”

Junior middle linebacker Joey Hudson said injuries like the one suffered by Everett might be prevented by going back to the basics.

“You don’t duck your head while tackling, that’s something they teach you in peewee,” Hudson said. “We get called out by our coaches if you duck your head, they take it seriously and hopefully other coaches stress that.”

While injuries are all part of the game, Hudson also said he never thinks about it on the field.

“You know you can get hurt,” he said. “You don’t think that it can be me, you just got to shake it off soon as it happens.”

Bratton agrees that an injured player needs to look ahead, and not worry about the current injury.

“You have to think positive,” Bratton said. “You have to think what extra you can do to get back if you’re injured.”

While Miami has its work cut out for itself playing the rest of the season shorthanded and bound to continue battling injuries, the RedHawks can see how much worse it can be on the gridiron.