Severe basketball injury hospitalizes Scott High student

Update Sunday 2 p.m.:
A Scott High School student has been upgraded to fair condition at UT Medical Center after a seemingly routine play turned life-threatening earlier this week.

Original story:
(WBIR - Scott County, Friday, 7:10 p.m.) A Scott High School student remains in serious condition at UT Medical Center after a seemingly routine basketball play turned into a life-threatening situation Thursday night.

Austin Morrow, a 16-year-old junior at Scott High, lacerated a kidney during the final minute of the Highlanders' game against visiting Alcoa.

After the game, Morrow was transported by ambulance to the Scott County Hospital in Oneida. From there a LIFESTAR helicopter rushed Morrow to UT Medical Center in Knoxville.

In the final minute of the game, Morrow checked in for the Highlanders. When an Alcoa player lobbed a pass to a teammate for an attempted alley-oop dunk, Morrow made contact with the leaping Alcoa player to break up the play. In the process, both players fell to the floor along the baseline.

"Austin had just come into the game and it was such a benign play. It was the type of thing you would see a thousand times at any basketball game," said Melissa Rector, Scott High School's principal. "Austin and the Alcoa player both got up and it just seemed like Austin had the breath knocked out of him."

"Austin is probably one of the hardest working people on the team in terms of hustling. I just saw that kid [for Alcoa] going up for a dunk and I see Austin Morrow fall. I didn't think anything about it. Austin gets after it anytime he is in the game, diving for loose balls, just hustling. It did not look that bad and Austin was able to walk off the court," said teammate Jeremiah Adkins.

"It looked like that guy's [the Alcoa player's] knee landed on him," said classmate and point guard Stephen Butts. "Austin, he got up slow and I went over and talked to him. He just kind of shrugged me off and walked over to the sideline."

"An assistant coach told me it might be Austin's ribs and he was in a lot of pain," said Scott High's head basketball coach Jared Laverdiere. "He stayed on the bench while we shook hands with the other team. The next thing I know, Austin is lying on our bench and his color had gone bad."

"He tried to stand up and all the color just drained from his face. He broke out in a sweat. It was obvious something bad was going on with him," said Butts.

"We had some medical personnel attending the game who tended to Austin. They called the county ambulance service to transport him to our newly reopened hospital in Scott County. It is really a good thing and we're very lucky that the hospital in Oneida is open again, because for a long time it was closed," said Rector. "The doctors over there were able to do some scans and stabilize Austin. Then they called in LIFESTAR to take him to UT Medical Center."

Morrow's parents and coaches rushed to UT Medical Center on Thursday night. Coach Laverdiere said he stayed at the hospital until around 2:45 a.m. on Friday when Morrow was stabilized in the Intensive Care Unit.

"They said his kidney was bleeding. Now he is just staying in the hospital while they monitor him to decide whether the kidney can heal itself or if Austin will need surgery," said Laverdiere. "He is just a really special kid. All day the entire school has been asking a lot of questions, wanting to make sure he is okay. We've gotten calls and texts from other coaches checking on him."

"We watched the replay and it does not look that bad, but his kidney was lacerated. It looked like that guy's knee came up and hit him [Morrow] in the kidney and just made a split right on the side of it. It's just crazy how easy something can happen like that," said Butts.

Friday night the Highlanders play their homecoming basketball game against Kingston. Coach Laverdiere said he expects it to be an emotional contest.

"We'll definitely all be thinking about Austin. When you're in the midst of coaching and in the middle of the season, you never really think someone is going to have an injury this severe. It really puts things into perspective. I just wish people could send up some prayers for him," said Laverdiere

Whatever the outcome of the remaining games this season, Principal Rector said the Highlanders will celebrate homecoming thankful for Morrow's positive medical outlook.

"Even though there may be some other procedures that have to go on to completely get him over this accident, he is going to be okay," said Rector. "We have around 800 students at this school. If we had 800 students like Austin, they would not need me. He is an honors straight-A student and a great kid."


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