Peterborough high school football team finds motivation from injured teammate
A high school football team in Peterborough says they’re finding inspiration from a teammate who continues to recover from a horrific car crash in October.
Braidyn Milton suffered life-threatening injuries following a collision on Highway 28 in Douro-Dummer Township on Oct. 12. The accident came in the middle of the season for his Thomas A. Stewart Secondary School Griffins senior boys football AAA team.
His mother Shannon says her 17-year-old son was in a medically induced coma for weeks but has been awake for the last 12 days, however, he’s still unable to walk.
But since the accident, the Griffins are playing inspired football on his behalf, says coach Jeff Challice.
“He’s a huge part of our team,” said Challice. “His accident happened midway through the season, and we want him to know he’s remembered and he’s been a motivating factor.”
Ever since the accident, the Griffins players have donned “48 Strong” logos on their helmets — Braidyn’s number. The Griffins went on to finish the regular season undefeated and capped it off by winning their first COSSA senior championship in 23 years last week.
During the COSSA championship, the Griffins were dominating play so much that they requested the scoreboard to stop at 48 points, to honour Braidyn. They officially beat the Eastside Ravens of Belleville 63-15.
“It’s taken a life of their own, kids have them, parents have them,” said Challice of the logos. “It’s a nice tribute to a boy who deserves it.”
They’ll now compete in their first ever Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) Bowl championship in Ottawa next week. And the team received another major boost of motivation on Tuesday when Braidyn’s mother posted a video on Facebook in which Braidyn spoke his first words since the accident.
“He actually said ‘I’m tough’ … ” said Shannon.
Shannon tells CHEX News that Braidyn will start rehab on Thursday in Toronto and has been surprising therapists and doctors with how quickly he’s progressing.
And that’s extra encouragement for the Griffins for the OFSAA Eastern Bowl game at 1 p.m. on Monday. They’ll face the EOSSAA champion — either Gananoque or the Holy Cross Crusaders of Kingston.
“We said COSSA was for him,” said quarterback Kal Sager. “So I feel OFSAA is a bigger and better goal to complete for Braidyn.”
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