Posted: Oct 30, 2011 10:12 PM by Ari Alexander
Updated: Oct 31, 2011 6:39 AM
A lot of things can inspire football players to play above and beyond. There's an adrenaline - an extra gear when an athlete is playing for something, or someone important. That one face in the crowd.
For North Callaway's Ty Webster that extra gear kicked in when that one face wasn't watching.
Football is a game of collisions. No north Callaway Thunderbird hits like Linebacker Ty Webster. Ty is tough on and off the turf and his brother Slaten is his biggest fan.
"He's really such a good athlete, and I want to be a good athlete like him" Slaten said.
Ty is quiet, driven and focused, and Slaten is the complete opposite. The brothers are close. They have the same blue eyes and even the same jersey number.
But last fall, all of that took a back seat. Ty was driving his siblings to school.
"All of the sudden, Ty yelled and he swerved and it was a really big jolt. We just stopped. And i remember looking over at Slate and he was, he had his head down on his chest and he was coughing up blood," Ty's sister said.
"Well I thought he was alive, but I didn't know if his chances of living were high. I could hear he was making noise, I guess that was good but it was just a murmur, I couldn't...I...didn't know...if...I had spent my last few minutes with him...I've never felt so guilty in my life," Ty said.
"It was just awful, just, sitting there waiting was the worst part. Not knowing...and Slate didn't wake up," Ty's sister said.
When Ty and Slaten's mom arrived at the scene, she thought she was seeing her son for the last time.
"They put Slaten in the ambulance and anesthetized him - put him out, then the Helicopter medic when they brought him out, he said do you want to kiss him one last time, that about killed me," Ty's mom said.
Slaten broke his leg and shattered his skull. But he held on.
North Callaway's Homecoming was the next day. With Slaten in a medically induced coma, Ty had to choose whether or not to play.
"I know Slate would want me to be out there playing anyway, he wouldn't want me sitting in the hospital and mope," Ty said.
On the toughest day of his life, Ty didn't just play, he had the game of his life. He had 43 yards, 2 touchdowns and led the team with 9 tackles.
"He did all he could, and he really did just play for Slate," Ty's sister said.
A year later, Slaten is back from the wreck that almost took him and Ty apart to the cheering at the games that brings them together.
"That's probably the best feeling that I could have after all we went through, we didn't know if he was going to be there standing next year, or be there at all," Ty said.
It's Ty's Senior year and he only has a few games left. But for now, with Ty on the field, Slaten's here, right where he needs to be.
Doctors don't know if Slaten will be able to play contact sports again, but Slaten was back on the baseball diamond last summer. Doctors say he can play basketball too.