FORT WAYNE, IN. (WANE) – It’s the kind of moment nobody involved is likely to forget. Homestead’s Gunnar Goebel collided headfirst with a teammate last fall in a match-up with rival Carroll that left him lying unmoving and on his back in the middle of the field.
“It hurt, but it wasn’t excruciating,” Goebel says now of the hit. “I was on the ground and something was just off. I felt like I shouldn’t get up.”
It turns out his instincts were correct. The Spartans standout defensive back had fractured the spinal process of both his C7 and T1 vertebrae. The spinal process is on the exterior of the vertebra, essentially the tip of the bone and is not a part of the column which protects the spinal cord. Still, the injury meant that Goebel would be in a neck brace for the next month and unable to complete his junior season of football. The recovery time would be remarkable though, thanks in part to Goebel’s toughness and a little bit of luck.
He was cleared to play basketball later that winter and was healthy enough to rejoin the Homestead football team in time for summer workouts. Now, two weeks into the season, he’s back to his usual self on the field.
“He’s a good leader,” says senior quarterback Logan Ormsby. “The whole defense looks up to him because he’s a guy that’s been playing at the varsity level since he was a sophomore.”
Goebel meanwhile, is thankful and realizes how fortunate he is to be back playing the game he loves.
“When you’re dealing with neck stuff you never know,” he says. “I could have been paralyzed, I could have died. I’m thankful God had his hand on me and saved me.”