Injured football player returns to school

On Sept. 29, a hush came over the crowd as junior varsity football player Luis Morales collided with a retaining wall after he was pushed out of bounds.

Coaches, trainers and players rushed to his aid to find he could not move his arms or legs.

"I don't think the game of football is the enemy here," Head Football Coach Phillip Wiggins said. "Football teaches kids so many things. Accidents happen in every facet of our lives, not just in football, and unfortunately it happened to Luis."

Morales was airlifted to Northwest Texas Hospital where he stayed for two weeks. He then flew with his family to Calif. to visit the Shriners Hospital for Children for spinal cord rehabilitation.

"To know that someone you had class with and walked down the hallways with was suddenly hurt and couldn't be there for who knows how long, and to know that he probably wasn't going to walk down those hallways again, just, that next day at school was heartbreaking," Bushland Junior Joni Wagner said.

Several businesses raised money for Morales and his family, including Vega's First Baptist Church. Wagner and her sister wore personalized Morales jerseys to the concert hosted by the church, and they were such a big hit that many people started buying them.

When Morales returned to school Tuesday for the first time in three months, he was greeted by the entire student body, faculty and even some window paintings. Everyone present agreed the school felt whole again.

"Prayer is very powerful and that was the biggest thing that we did was pray," Coach Wiggins said. "We've missed him since he's been gone. I mean, just having him back, you know, it's the same Luis in him. So, he's got a great personality and he's fun to be around and, so, we're excited to have him back."