KINGSTON (WATE) – Homecoming at Roane County High School held special meaning Friday night.
An injured player made his first trip back to cheer on the team.
Sophomore Seth Haynes broke his neck making a tackle during the opening play against Sequoyah last week. Doctors at UT Medical Center did surgery to repair his shattered vertebrae and say he will play again.
A broken neck and the four hour surgery that followed were not enough to keep him off the football field. Haynes slowly walked on to the field before the game. Even though he wasn't in uniform, team members made sure he knew he was still a Kingston Yellow Jacket.
"Hospital stay wasn't too good. Feels good to be out," Haynes said.
At the football field entrance, cheerleaders collected donations for the Haynes family.
Just a week ago, no one knew what the future would hold.
"I was at first, now it doesn't bother me anymore," Haynes said, when we asked him if he was scared at the time he was injured.
Moments before the homecoming game began, the crowd cheered as they released balloons, honoring what he'd endured for the team.
Seth's number, 10, was painted in players helmets, and on the football field.
Seth's best friend wore his jersey.
"I'm going to try and play my heart out for him. I'll do everything I can to represent his number," said player Paul Bolden.
For many here, what happened to Seth was a lesson in how unexpected life can be.
"With football and life and everything, it opened my eyes to what can happen," said cheerleader Meghan Kitts.
"It teaches me anything can happen at any moment, so don't' take life for granted," Bolden said.
For Seth, a diehard football fan, there was one thing that would make sure what he went through was worth it.
"Get a win, we haven't had one all season," Bolden said.
Unfortunately, the Kingston Yellow Jackets did not win the game.
While Seth was at the game, he has quite a road to recovery ahead of him. He will be out of school for a month and he'll wear a neck brace for the next two months.
The Tennessee Valley Authority says it has reached a milestone in its cleanup of the ash spill at the Kingston Fossil Plant.More >>
The Tennessee Valley Authority says it has reached a milestone in its cleanup of the ash spill at the Kingston Fossil Plant: the completion of an earthquake resistant, underground retaining wall around the containment cell at the recovery site.More >>