A Mavericks' miraculous return

ANDERSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Tyler Hicks lines up behind his center, gives the call, takes the snap, drops back, and fires a precision pass to one of his Anderson County receivers.

If you attend a Mavericks' practice, that's a scene repeated over and over. But it wasn't one you could have witnessed last year.

Not after Hicks suffered a brain injury from a March 20, 2012 car wreck.

"We didn't know if he would play football again," Mavericks head coach David Gillum said.

"His recovery has just been miraculous."

After the wreck, Hicks spent a month in the hospital, much of that time in ICU.

"The whole right side of my body above the waste was broken and damaged," a now-recovered Hicks said during practice.

When Hicks was released, he said it was "like starting life over again."

Arguably the most athletic student at Anderson County, he couldn't walk.

Everything had to be re-learned.

"It was different.. Everything was different. There wasn't anything like it was...athletically, my school work, nothing was the same. Everything was slower. "

"It was pretty hard seeing him not be able to do everything that he could. But, Tyler, you can't knock him down. I knew he'd come back," friend and teammate Jared Lindsey said.

And he did come back.

With therapy, the support of the community, and with help of his dad, day by day, Tyler showed improvement. First learning how to walk again, then jog, and then run.

He wasn't able to play football last fall, but today, a year after the wreck, he's back.

On the field. In the huddle.

"You get a warm feeling when you see him," Gillum said. "You get chills on your arms when you watch him. It is emotional, knowing what he went thru, that we got him back."

Hicks says he's ready to be hit. Adding that it's "been too long" since that's happened. He returns a smarter quarterback, and a wiser person.

"Anything can be taken from you on any day. Just don't take anything for granted."

His first snap in his first game this fall won't be a Hail Mary. After all, Tyler's prayers have already been answered.

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