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Yeakel’s Season Cut Short by Back Injury

MaCoy Yeakel looks on before running down to cover a kickoff on September 22 at Bolstorff Field. Photo by Mike Stetson

By: Zach Throne

Not often, if ever, in sports does a crowd see two teams come together and pray together in the middle of a game. However, that’s exactly what happened on Oct. 20 when stand-out freshman defensive back MaCoy Yeakel laid almost motionless on the field after a hit.

Players from both schools—Waldorf and Presentation—were huddled in prayer while they waited for the ambulance crew to wheel Yeakel off the field, proving there are more important things in life than a game.

The injury came when Yeakel attempted to make a tackle on a Saint ball carrier.

“It was an amazing scene,” said Melanie Throne, mother of Warrior offensive lineman Zach Throne. “It made me emotional seeing two teams put aside the competition to pray for MaCoy. We were all scared for MaCoy.”

After the 44-38 loss to Presentation, Waldorf players worried about their fellow teammate, fearing a life-altering injury.

Their worries subsided when Darla Yeakel, MaCoy’s mom, posted a picture of her son on Facebook saying that he broke the third vertebrae in his back. She also said that Yeakel had fine limb movement and that he’s expected to make a full recovery.

“They told me that if it had been one vertebrae higher or lower that I’d be paralyzed right now,” said Yeakel, “I’m just thankful to be able to move my arms and legs.”

His teammates felt relief when they received the news.

“Although he still broke his back and faces tremendous pain, I’m so happy that it was nothing compared to our worst worries, ” said childhood friend and Waldorf teammate Drew Christianson.

Yeakel had been having a stellar freshman campaign, securing 42 tackles and 3 interceptions in just 7 games.

He’s looking forward to a comeback in 2019.

“I am going to do everything in my power to get back on that field for week 1 of next year,” said Yeakel, “I’m ready to get back to work with my teammates.”

Yeakel will be in a neck brace for approximately 12 weeks, and limit his movement. Then, the rehab process will begin for MaCoy.