EDINBURGH, Ind. - A central Indiana high school football player is back home after spending a week in the hospital due to severe internal injuries suffered during a game.
Doctors told Steven Bailey, 15, of Edinburgh, that he'll be on bed rest for weeks and must avoid any strenuous activity into next year.
Bailey is recovering from a ruptured spleen, lacerated kidney and punctured lung -- injuries that happened when he was tackled while returning a kickoff against Indianapolis Manual on Aug. 23.
The teen said Sunday he was disappointed he won't be allowed to run track next spring.
"I can't do any kind of physical activity for six months. That's been hard to consider," he told the Daily Journal.
Bailey said remembers being caught up in the excitement and adrenaline of the first game of the season at Manual.
"I was playing really good and felt good," he said. "Kickoff returns are one of my favorite things to do, and I was looking forward to doing that."
He dropped the ball when it came to him, went back to pick it up and then started toward his blockers.
"I started trying to find a hole too late and got hit by too many people, I guess," he said.
The team trainer thought at first Bailey might have had a cracked rib, but he said the pain got worse as his parents were driving him home and they stopped at an Indianapolis hospital. He was transferred to Riley Hospital for Children, where he needed a blood transfusion after he lost about a quart of blood from internal bleeding.
Bailey would drift in and out of consciousness because of pain medicine much of the next five days. One memory he has is a visit by Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, who was at Riley as part of a team event talking with sick children. Luck signed autographs for Bailey and his older brother, Tyler, a big Colts fan.
Bailey said he's grateful for the good wishes he's received from the community about 25 miles south of Indianapolis. And he's confident that he will make it back to his 300-student school's football team.
"I'll be at the games with my teammates. Then I'll be back next year," he said.