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Concordia’s Morris still active on team after accident

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 7:45 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - College football is in full swing, and Concordia University- Nebraska’s team is missing a defensive lineman. Gerald Morris, a senior, was seriously hurt in a car accident this March.

“I woke up in the hospital, and didn’t know why I was there,” said Morris.

He and some teammates were on a 19-hour drive to Arizona for spring break. Morris had just driven nine hours and was sleeping in the back somewhere in Utah when the car flipped. He woke up to learn he had traumatic brain injury, fractures in his neck and a collapsed lung.

“I wasn’t supposed to be okay,” said Morris. “It’s been a blessing.”

Morris spent time in a Utah hospital, where his coach, Patrick Daberkow, visited.

“The last time I saw him was when we dismissed from weights on Friday. He looked like a college defensive lineman,” said Daberkow. “When I got the hospital, it was rough seeing it. He was just a shell of himself.

Coach Patrick Daberkow with senior Gerald Morris after an accident in March.
Coach Patrick Daberkow with senior Gerald Morris after an accident in March.(none)

Then, Morris moved back to his home state of Texas, where a variety of doctor’s appointments awaited him.

Right before surgery on his spine, Morris said he asked the assistant if he would ever be able to play football again.

“He said, ‘You’ll never play football again,’” said Morris. “I actually went under anesthesia crying.”

For the last 15 years, football has been everything to Morris. He said, once he learned you could go to college and play football that’s all he’d wanted to do. A Concordia coach had reached out to him on Twitter, Morris visited and liked it in Seward.

“It’s always been the biggest part of my life, it’s always helped me,” said Morris. “It helps take your mind off things. You come to the field and focus on football. It’s been hard not playing, but it is good to have those people.”

Those people are his teammates and coaches. Despite not being able to play, the Bulldogs are making sure he is a part of the game. They are wearing a “95” sticker on their helmets in his honor.

Senior defensive lineman Gerald Morris watches on at practice
Senior defensive lineman Gerald Morris watches on at practice(Madison Pitsch)

“It’s a way to honor him,” said Daberkow. “He’s not able to contribute with pads on, but he’s definitely still contributing to this season.”

While Morris is still hopeful he’ll be able to get in on a couple snaps, right now he helps out on the sidelines during practice, and cheers his team on from there during games.

“I’m really focusing on helping the young guys, they’re just learning the playbook,” said Morris. “It’s hard, but it’s just something I have to do. I just have to appreciate that I’m still able to be on the sideline. I just learned how much these guys cared for me, so this gives me more time to care for them.”

While Morris admits he misses football, he said he now knows how many people are in his corner.

“People go through stuff in life,” said Morris. “But I know for a fact, I will never feel like I’m alone again.”

Senior defensive lineman Gerald Morris watches practice get started from the bleachers
Senior defensive lineman Gerald Morris watches practice get started from the bleachers(Madison Pitsch)

Concordia football takes on GPAC opponent Northwestern at home this Saturday at 1 p.m.

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