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What it really means to be a Bearcat!

September 20, 2013

Copeland surrounded by his coaches after he broke his leg in the game against Talihina.

Friday night lights are shining bright for the 2013 Bearcats. The intensity level is through the roof. It is great to be a part of the excitement.

As a parent, it is always mixed emotions as your child takes the field. There is such a sense of pride and gratification to see your child so fired up and intense about something however, deep down suppressed within, lies the fear of injury. You don’t often think about it, however you know it exists and you’re reminded with each injury-timeout.

As the injured player receives attention, you are reminded of the risk. That possibility became a reality for us Friday night as the Bearcats hosted the Talihina Tigers.

Antlers entered the locker room at the half up 13-0. Things were looking great. We thought how huge this win is going to be for the kids, the coaches and the program. As the second half began, Talihina returned the opening kick-off for a touchdown and the wheels started wobbling. A very questionable reception by the Tigers allowed them to score again and take the lead.

At this point, the wheels came off for the Bearcats. Disappointed by the outcome of the game, we were ready for the buzzer. However, in the waning minutes there is an injury time-out.

As we waited to get things going again, those around us were saying “that’s Conner”. As parents, one could imagine we hoped the prolonged assessment of his injury would result in a tired, fatigued Bearcat limping from the field. It was when we saw one of the coaches motion to the ambulance our fear became a reality.

We picked up the pace and realized that it might be a little more serious than suspected. As this goes to print, most everyone knows the story.

Conner suffered a broken femur. He was airlifted to the trauma center at St. Francis in Tulsa. He underwent surgery the next morning and he is now home. Only time will tell how long he will be out of commission.

The blessing in this story is what was exhibited by the Antlers student body, faculty and community in demonstrating what it truly means to be a Bearcat. We cannot express our gratitude and appreciation for the overwhelming concern and support we have received on Conner’s behalf.

We want to thank everyone (hundreds at this point) for your calls, prayers, visits and many other gestures of kindness. We want to give a special thanks to the Antlers Coaching Staff who even in the face of frustration were compassionate and attentive as they stayed with Conner and loaded him in the helicopter for transport.

We want to encourage the team to pull together after this loss and prepare for Atoka. Remember how far things have come in one year. Everyone is behind you and the stands are full of people and enthusiasm who believe in you. Go Cats!

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