Dede Westbrook, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound wide receiver prospect from Cameron Yoe High School in Texas, has been one of the state’s premier playmakers all season long.
Westbrook was doing what he does best in his team’s Oct. 7 matchup with McGregor High School, scoring a touchdown to give the Yoeman a 7-0 lead on the way to a 24-20 win for the team.
But before the end of the game, the wide receiver would be fighting for his life in the hospital.
“There was a deep ball thrown and the receiver fell back and I was trying to defend the pass," Westbrook said. "I was draped over him and he put his knees up and there was a little area in the middle of my rib protector and he hit it just perfectly. His knee went in between my rib protector and hit me right in the abdomen."
Westbrook said he thought he had lost his breath but after a moment, he and the team's trainer realized it was something worse.
“My small intestine collapsed, it exploded,” Westbrook explained. “It was pretty bad. I went in for a CAT scan. The doctor saw little specks of blood and at first thought it was a bruise, but then they saw the specks of blood and decided they needed to go in and check it out.”
Westbrook said he expects to miss about six weeks because of the injury.
"I got 21 staples -- pretty much from my chest all the way to my belly button," he said. "They cut me open pretty good. The doctor said he had never seen anything like that, it had to happen just perfect.”
If he had not been treated immediately, the injury could have been life-threatening. But after treatment, a five-day hospital stay and three weeks of soft food, Westbrook has been told he will be able to play again. Unfortunately, that most likely would be in college unless Yoe advances in the state playoffs.
“This is killing me, you know, to miss the rest of my high school career,” a somber Westbrook said on the day he was released from the hospital. “But I know that I have a future afterwards I have to look at.
“But I want to play so bad to honor that commitment I made at the beginning of the season.”
The wide receiver was supposed to take a trip to Baylor after his Oct. 7 game, but that trip was put on hold because of his injury.
So far, Westbrook is considering offers from Texas Tech, Baylor, Memphis, Texas State, Oklahoma State and UTEP.
The Scout.com three-star player burst on the national radar for the first time at the State 7-on-7 Championships in College Station, Tex. He took advantage of the attention from scouts at the event and by making huge plays over the top of defenders.
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