Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Injured Duke Receiver On The Mend

According to the Durham Herald-Sun, injured Duke wide receiver Billy Holliday will return to Wallace Wade Stadium this weekend:

(Edited) The sophomore wide receiver, critically injured in a July 4 personal watercraft accident, is expected to be at Wallace Wade Stadium on Saturday when the Blue Devils meet N.C. Central at 7 p.m.

Sources close to the Holliday family said Tuesday night that Holliday has progressed in his rehabilitation well enough to make tentative plans to travel to campus. He is expected to spend time with his teammates before the game and could make an on-field appearance.

Holliday suffered a traumatic brain injury when the personal watercraft he was piloting on Lake Tillery in Stanly County was struck by one driven by fellow Duke wide receiver Jamison Crowder.

Holliday spent most of August in Atlanta at The Shepherd Center, a world-renowned facility for rehabilitation of brain and spinal-cord injuries. He improved enough to move to outpatient status on Sept. 1, and he remains in Atlanta and receives outpatient therapy at The Shepherd Center for about five hours per day.

With massive injuries to his head and face, Holliday nearly died on site at Lake Tillery after the accident. Chelsea Gibbons, a Pitt Community College nursing student who happened to be at the lake that day, administered CPR and emergency breaths to save Holliday’s life when he stopped breathing.

Gibbons plans to accompany Holliday to Wallace Wade Stadium on Saturday night.

After initially being transported to Stanly Regional Hospital, Holliday was moved to UNC Hospitals where he spent the remainder of the month in the Intensive Care Unit.  

In early August, Holliday moved to The Shepherd Center, and has now had phone conversations with Duke coach David Cutcliffe and the Blue Devils players. Holliday has also regained his ability to walk.

Holliday, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound receiver from Sherman Oaks, Calif., was expected to start for Duke this season before the accident. He was named Duke’s most improved offensive player after spring practice in March.

His athletic ability and work ethic have been cited by the doctors who have treated him as reasons for his recovery.

Duke’s players are honoring Holliday by wearing a sticker with his jersey No. 8 on the back of their helmets this season.

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