By HEATHER TOMLINSON, CJ Staff Writer Commonwealth Journal
One of two Somerset High School football players seriously injured a little more than a week ago in a car accident was able to return home and join his team on the sidelines.
“It was extremely, extremely emotional,” said Somerset Briar Jumpers coach Robbie Lucas. “He (Will Hinton) was there as the players came out of the locker room.”
Hinton, 17, was driving a 2009 Chevrolet Impala shortly before 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 4 when he pulled out into the path of a tractor trailer. The big rig struck Hinton’s side of the vehicle as the Chevy was crossing the eastbound lanes of East Ky. 80 from Barnett Street.
Hinton and his passenger, Jacobi Gilmore, 16, were both seriously injured in the accident, which happened in front of several of their teammates as many of them were leaving from nearby Clark Field.
Hinton suffered a broken pelvis and facial injuries, while Gilmore suffered a brain bleed and a collapsed lung. Both young men were rushed to the University of Kentucky Medical Center for treatment.
And on Friday, just eight days after the crash, Hinton was able to support his team during their home game against Lexington Christian Academy, which they won 12-9.
"All my family and my team is still here. I'm not playing with them, but they are there for me, and I'm still with them," Hinton said during a television interview Friday evening.
“He’s a strong young man,” Lucas said about Hinton, who underwent surgery to repair his pelvis. “Most people wouldn’t be able to go seven days after being hit by a semi to sitting on the sideline.”
Gilmore is now at Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Center in Lexington, and Lucas said they’re hopeful he’ll be able to come home within the next several days.
“I’m not playing football anymore, but I'm not dead,” Hinton stated in the television interview. “I'm 17. I'm alive.”
"I don't like people to look at me and get sad,” he continued. “That doesn't help the situation. A smile on somebody else's face helps me as much as them."
Hinton received much attention during Friday’s game, but one of his and Gilmore’s rescuers, EMT B.R. Callahan, was honored as well. Callahan, who was off-duty that day, was reportedly first on the scene and he stabilized both young men until more help could arrive.
Lucas said the Lexington Christian football team also presented cards and funds to Somerset’s team, which had been taken up in a collection to help cover medical costs for Hinton and Gilmore’s families.
“You couldn’t ask for better people,” Lucas said. “There’s some quality people out there who have nothing but good in their hearts.”