William Blount football star talks about near-death experience

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MARYVILLE (WVLT) -- William Blount linebacker Cole Lail has a story to tell.

It's not about his junior season, in which he tallied more than 100 tackles en route to All-State honors.

Nor is it about how he anchored the Governors' defense, playing through a hand injury to lead his team to one of the best seasons in school history.

In fact, Lail's story has nothing to do with football and everything to do with survival.

While attending a football camp in North Carolina in late February, Lail experienced flu-like symptoms. By the end of the weekend, he'd been diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia and had been placed in intensive care on a ventilator.

He wasn't far from death. But he kept fighting, beating the illness, then working feverishly to get back into shape in time for football season.

Click on the video link to hear Lail talk about the sickness, his recovery, and the perspective he gained from the experience.