OAKDALE (WATE) – Oakdale High School football player Dustin Cooney was rushed to the hospital from Thursday night’s playoff game against Oneida after suffering a severe concussion.
“It just was a freak accident,” said Oakdale head coach, J.R. Voyles. “It happens, it’s part of the game.”
The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office says Cooney sustained a hard hit to the head during the game at Oakdale High School and was going in and out of consciousness. He was taken by ambulance to UT Medical Center. A LifeStar helicopter was unable to fly due to the weather.
Players and cheerleaders were seen in photos on social media praying for the teen.
Oakdale doesn’t have a team trainer to check on players when they get injured. Coach Voyles told WATE 6 On Your Side that’s partially because of finances.
“The area that we’re in, a small community, that’s tough to do,” he said.
A TSSAA spokesperson said, “It is recommended-not required-that schools have an athletic trainer or medical personnel at their athletic contests. In many small communities, this is not possible.”
Fortunately, Oneida’s team had a trainer at the game who was able to take a look at Cooney. Paramedics were also on site.
Cooney’s mom Mia told WATE 6 On Your Side that Cooney is now home, resting. She said all tests came back with no brain bleeding or broken bones. Cooney said her son doesn’t have any memory of the injury, and he initially wasn’t able to recognize her or her husband; his memory is starting to come back.
“Everything looks like he’ll be okay,” said Coach Voyles. “He told me he was looking forward to playing again.”