Seth Haynes' mother said he is recovering at UT Medical Center from a surgery that repaired his shattered third vertebrae.
The injury happened on the opening drive of the Kingston Yellowjacket's Friday night game against Seqouyah High School. Coach Brian Pankey said the defensive back was making a "routine tackle."
Monday the team met for the first time since Seth's injury.
"That could have been a life-ending injury and it could've happened to any of us," Pankey said during a team huddle. "I've been coaching or playing football for a long time and I've never seen that happen."
The practice was a little quieter than normal. Hayne's teammates said his absence was noticeable.
"Everyday at practice he makes people laugh," said his teammate Cody Mitchell. "Without him here everybody is missing that."
"He's having to go through all this pain. He would want to be out here more than anything," said his teammate Paul Bolden.
This Friday is the school's big homecoming game, a match-up Seth doesn't plan on missing, even from his hospital bed.
"He's already asked me if he could go to the game Friday night. I said, 'We'll have to see how you feel,'" said Seth's mom, Tammie Haynes.
Doctors say Seth will not be able to play football again and he may not be able to make it to his homecoming game. But his teammates are making sure he knows, he will always be a member of the Kingston Yellowjackets.
"I've talked to some people to see if they can video tape the game for him just in case he can't come so we can take it to his house and let him see it," said his teammate Bryson Ashford.
Tuesday morning, Roane County High School's student body is holding a walk at 10:30 a.m. to show their support for Seth. They are also collecting donations for his family.