During the season-opening game for Rock Island (Ill.)
against Peoria Manual on August 29, senior running back/strong safety Prince Gbeddeh
suffered a dislocated kneecap.
Paramedics rushed Gbeddeh to the hospital when things took a turn for the worst.
According to the Quad City Times
, doctors discovered that an artery in Gbeddeh's leg had ruptured in the injury, causing internal bleeding that affected his kidneys and lungs.
Reports indicated there was a chance that Gbeddeh would not survive the night. However, doctors were able to transfer an artery from his healthy leg to restore blood flow and stabilize Gbeddeh.
Gbeddeh is now on the road to recovery, but after 20 days in intensive care, he has amassed medical bills that could top $500,000.
The Illinois high school football community is rallying around Gbeddeh, who is a Liberian refugee who came to the United States in 2008 with his mother and four siblings. Prior to his injury, Gbeddeh was working two part-time jobs to support his family.
Now, the Rock Island-Milan School District has created an online fundraiser to help support Gbeddeh and his family.
Already, nearly $6,000 has come in in support of Gbeddeh, and the movement continues to spread. Manual, Rock Island's opponent in Week One, held a fundraiser in support of Gbeddeh. Other school districts are also stepping up to help raise money.
"Makes me feel very happy. I love them for that. I love them so much," Gbeddeh told KWQC
, of the support he's received.To donate, visit the GoFundMe page set up for Gbeddeh.