Sultana High School football is coming off a win, and still has eight games left in the regular season, but it can’t be easy for the Sultans to focus on anything other than their player who wears No. 29, senior defensive end Bruce Henderson.
Henderson suffered a brain injury late in Friday’s 7-0 win over Riverside Norte Vista and was taken to the hospital.
According to tweets from Sultana assistant coach Chris Fore’s Twitter account, Henderson suffered the injury on a play in which “it was a hit on a running back. Might have been that hit, might have been contact with the ground.”
Fore tweeted that Henderson “came off the field under his own power. Then our staff had him see trainer when they knew he wasn’t ‘right.’”
He eventually underwent emergency brain surgery at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton.
Since then, the official twitter account of Sultana Football reported: “Keep fighting Bruce. Everyone is here for you. Great news, Bruce has been giving thumbs up on command now. We love you.” Monday, the account reported “amazing news. They have taken the tubes out and Bruce is doing better and better. He’s even trying to talk. God is gr8. Keep praying.”
An online fund through youcaring.com had raised $4,070 of a $10,000 goal as of Tuesday evening for Henderson and his family.
Through two games, Henderson is second on the team with 29 tackles.
Messages to Sultana coach Keith Locklear and principal Larry Bird were not returned.
On Thursday, the following update was given:
#bh29 Bruce is still in critical condition, but keeps improving. We are all thinking about u. We love u Bruce and your family. #prayforbruce
— The Sultana Football (@SultanaFootball) September 9, 2016
Rough night, big win
A secondary story was the fact that Sultana beat Norte Vista, a big win for Sultana. Norte Vista was a playoff team last year and Sultana’s win was likely the Sultans’ most impressive since 2012.
In 2012, a year after Sultana last made the playoffs, Sultana defeated Pomona 26-24. Until Friday, that was the last time Sultana had beaten a team that had finished the previous season with a winning record.
Obviously a big part of the 7-0 win was defense, which included four fumble recoveries off six forced fumbles. Special teams also averaged 40.0 yards per kick in the game.
That was a week after Norte Vista routed Claremont, 49-21.