KINGSTON (WATE) - A Roane County High School football player who broke his neck during a Friday night game is getting good news from his doctors. They say he is already progressing on his road to recovery.
Seth Haynes, a 15-year-old sophomore at Roane County High School, broke his neck on the first play of the school's game against Sequoyah.
He underwent a four-hour surgery Saturday night at UT Medical Center.
Seth's mom says despite his devastating injury the family is just thankful for the progress he has already made.
Tammie Haynes says seeing a child lying motionless on the football field is a sight no parent wants to see.
"It's the worst feeling in the world. There's nothing to describe that feeling because you feel like as a parent you're helpless because you want to be there and help them," said Haynes.
Doctors at UT Medical Center worked for several hours Saturday night to repair his shattered third vertebrae.
"It's like you took a hatchet to the C3 and just chopped it," said Haynes.
Doctors say the surgery could not have gone any better.
"He did great through the whole surgery. His vitals stayed good," said Haynes.
She says Seth is talking now and is in good spirits, even after being delivered news by doctors that he can never play football again.
"He told me, he says, 'Mom, I just thank Jesus that I can walk,'" said Haynes.
That's tough news for a kid who has lived and breathed football since the age of four.
"He loves football. When he first learned how to tackle, you couldn't walk through the house," said Haynes. "He would try to tackle everybody as they tried to walk through the house. He just loves football. He doesn't miss a game."
Haynes says Seth knows he's very lucky to be alive and is thankful for the outpouring of support from his teammates, classmates and the Roane County community.
"I couldn't ask for better people. We're really lucky people," said Haynes.
That support is pushing Seth to get better as quickly as he can.
He doesn't want to miss a single football game, even if that means he has to watch it from the stands.
"We're focused on getting him better and getting him out because he's already wanting to go to the football game Friday night because it's Homecoming," said Haynes.
Haynes says Seth has had countless visitors since he arrived at the hospital.
He got a surprise visit from the Roane County High School cheerleading squad on Sunday afternoon.
His doctors will meet with Haynes Sunday night to discuss his recovery process from here on out, including physical therapy.
Haynes says the doctors have already told her that Seth is going to fully recover, but will have less range of motion in his neck.
Despite being told he can never play football again, Haynes says her son has already said he'll do anything to stay a part of his team.
He's even volunteered to be the waterboy if he has to.
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