Hopedale High School football player returns home after breaking neck

HOPEDALE, Mass. — A Hopedale High School senior who broke his neck during the first football game of the season returned home from the hospital less than a week after being injured.

Brian Cerow, 17, captain of the Hopedale/Blackstone-Millville Regional football team, was excited for the season opener at Bellingham Friday. But during the very first defensive play of the game, Brian, with his head down – the improper form his coach had warned him about – went in for the tackle.

“As soon as I made the tackle, I felt and heard a snap in my neck,” Brian told Boston 25 News Wednesday. “That was a pretty terrifying moment for me.”

Brian was able to run off the field, but he knew something wasn’t right.

“He was standing with a trainer,” Brian’s mother, Jennifer Convery said, “and I could see in his eyes he was really hurt and scared.”

Brian was rushed to a hospital in Milford, where an X-ray confirmed the family’s fear. Brian had a C1 fracture; he had broken his neck.

The teen was transferred to Children’s Hospital in Boston, where he underwent more scans. He was relieved to learn he would not need surgery but would be confined to a brace around his neck and chest, his chin forced in an upright position for the next three months.

The prognosis means Brian will never play high school football again. But rather than focus on what he has lost, Brian is grateful for what he wasn’t paralyzed or killed.

“I feel pretty blessed,” Brian said. “I could be in a coffin right now. So that’s a miracle to me, to be able to be standing up and walking around.”

Brian will cheer on his teammates on the sidelines and give them pep talks from the bench.

Once his brace is off, he will undergo physical therapy, and he hopes to be on the field playing lacrosse next spring.

“Every day is an extra gift now,” Convery said, “because we came so close to losing him.”

Friends have set up the following fundraising account to help pay for Brian's medical bills:


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