Quentin Thomas gave one for the team and now the team is giving one back to him.
Seriously injured during the second game of the season, a benefit is being planned to help defray medical costs incurred. Two of the football players - Cody Nesbitt and Keegan Svendsen - have been charge of making all the arrangements.
The Alta High School junior, son of John and Tami Thomas, who was expected to be a key member of the Cyclone football team, was injured at the West Hancock-Britt game. Playing in the strong safety position, Quentin went in to tackle the West Hancock-Britt running back who was driving in for a touchdown. The two tangled and the opposing player's shoulder pads hit him below the ribs.
Quentin went down and like any dedicated football player, wasn't about to let a hit keep him down.
When he got up he had pain and felt out of breath. He was brought to the sidelines and team trainer Dr. Greg Kuehny initially thought Quentin had bruised his ribs. The pain worsened quickly and the paramedics were called in to help. Quentin was taken by ambulance to the Britt hospital.
Time there seemed an eternity. Four hours passed and several X-rays were taken. It was discovered that Quentin's spleen had been lacerated in the tackle and he was experiencing internal bleeding.
He was life-flighted to Mercy Medical Center in Mason City where he was placed in intensive care.
By Sunday, two days following the accident, the bleeding had become worse and surgery was performed to remove the spleen. He remained in the hospital for five more days, endured some horrific pain and came home 30 pounds lighter and sporting a 10-inch incision down his chest.
He is back at school but out of sports for the time being. He is very much missing being a part of the football teams and the cross country competition that he also took part in. He had hoped for another standout season of running - like last year when he placed fourth in the district cross country competition and earned a 23rd place in the state competition.
The junior has many friends who have been concerned about him.
"He's a close friend of ours and we were all crushed when he got hurt," Cody commented. "He was on the cross country and the football teams and was working so hard. To see things end like they did for him, took a toll on all of us."
Cody and Keegan, with some direction from their moms, organized the benefit which is set for Oct. 12, prior to the high school girls' last volleyball game vs. Sac City.
Visits with personnel at Hy-Vee and Fareway brought concern; some great deals were offered to the boys to reduce the cost of chips and meat.
The football players will be helping out in the event - the juniors and seniors will be doing the grilling and the others will be helping with the serving. The boys are asking for a free-will donation for their friend and Thrivent Financial has agreed to match the funds.
"We have been wanting to do something but have been waiting around," said Keegan.
"When this idea came up, we jumped at the opportunity to help out."
Quentin is still on medication and requires regular blood work and is supposed to be taking it slow - he is having a difficult time slowing down and is hoping to be back on the football field at play-off time. "I don't know if my parents will let me..." Quentin said.
He is in awe of the attention his injury has attracted.
Several friends and his two coaches showed up to visit him while he was in the hospital and he received many e-mails as well.
"It was awesome. I wasn't expecting that much. People in Alta really do care about me. A lot of people have told me I've been in their thoughts and in their prayers."
Quentin continues to be a part of the football team - on the sidelines. Paul Allerdings, who was sidelined due to a stress fracture in his shin, is out there with him.
"I miss it a lot, especially when they're padding up and walking to the field with friends. I'd like to be right out there with them helping them."
Football coach Kevin Hammer said he thinks the plan is awesome.
"This shows what a close-knit small community like ours can do when it comes together - and it shows the character of the kids on our team."
Colleen Schwanz, Keegan's mom, has been busy making and selling fleece scarves to help pay for some of the costs of the food items - and she has done well with the project. Some of the boys, including Quentin, have also helped her.
Quentin has been told he needs to take it easy for six to eight weeks - which he says, gives him plenty of time to prepare for basketball!
Quentin will be right out there with the players helping at the benefit and to greet the many people who care for him.
Again, the fundraiser will be Oct. 12 prior to the high school volleyball game at the new gym.