LAWRENCE — Deep in the right corner of the end zone, Ryan Etter extended his 6-foot-3 frame to the sky, leaping to his ultimate height. The Central Catholic senior snatched the football from the sky, falling in a tangle with a Hillie defender, to the turf. Somehow, he tapped a toe for his first ever varsity touchdown.
“Unbelievable!” screamed a fan on the Hillie’s sideline. If that fan had only known just how unbelievable it was.
“I still don’t know how I got the foot down,” said Etter, whose disbelief was cloaked in horror just two months ago.
On July 15, in the Central weight room, Etter nearly lost it all.
“My whole season, basically my whole life, was kind of hanging there,” said Etter, who had two fingers on his left hand smashed and nearly severed in an accident while spotting at the squat rack.
“One of my friends was trying to rack the weight (305 lbs.) but missed on one side. In the heat of the moment, I tried to save him, but my middle finger and my index finger got slammed between the weight and the rack.”
D’Andre Drummond-Mayrie, Etter’s best friend on the team, was there the day it happened and will not forget the gruesome scene.
“The weight was falling down, Etter went to catch it,” said Drummond-Mayrie. “And after they got it racked back up, he looked at his fingers. They were basically hanging off. There was blood everywhere. It was disgusting.”
Etter was rushed into Boston in an ambulance.
“All I could do was wonder what was going to happen. Thankfully, when I got to the hospital, they took some x-rays and the doctors there let me know they could be fixed.”
Etter’s recovery has been nothing short of sensational. While the fingers have pins inserted in them and remain a bit stiff, the doctors tell him he has full function, and both look normal as well. Etter took it slowly in the preseason and even missed the Raider opener, making it back for the Hillie game Saturday.