VERBENA, AL (WSFA) - “A lot of kids wouldn’t have been as tough as him, they probably would’ve folded and let it define their life but he’s the complete opposite of that - he’s awesome.”
Tyler Abbott is a lot like most high school football players - busy, driven and hard-working.
“Tough, hard-nosed. I mean, just typical old school, ‘I’m gonna bring my lunch pail to work and get after it,'” said Verbena head football coach Tyler Kelley.
But one thing separates him for the rest.
When Tyler was in the eighth grade he was involved in a tractor accident that changed his life forever.
“Me and my grandpa was going to get ready for hunting season, and we were pushing on some brush and there was a tree back behind it, and we released the tree and it came up over the cabin, and after that I don’t remember anything. I guess the tree smashed my arm and I remember walking through the woods. My daddy picked me up, and tied his belt around my arm and put me in the truck. There, they called a helicopter in from children’s and I can remember getting flown to the hospital and I don’t remember anything else,” said Tyler Abbott.
“I just kept thinking back of, ‘God, please don’t let me lose him because I’ve only had him for 14 years. Don’t let me lose him,’” said Tyler’s mom Jennifer Abbott.
He not only survived, he dominated. Every Friday night he’s the Red Devils' starting cornerback.
“Learning how to tackle was probably my biggest challenge and keeping my balance. I wanted to get after it and learn how to do it all over again, because I love playing sports,” said Tyler.
“What he can do one handed is better than what most of us can do with two,” said Wyatt Blan, Tyler’s teammate. “He will hit you, and he is tough, and he is anything you ask him to do. He is, ‘Yes sir,' 'No sir,’ and he gets it done.”
What Tyler really wanted to accomplish, to turn something tragic into something inspirational.
“It’s inspirational just thinking of that he’s been through so much and all of us - we don’t know what he’s truly been through mentally and everything else - that the way he acts, the way he carries himself it’s just like nothing ever happened,” said Wyatt.
“People shouldn’t feel sorry for me. I don’t think, ‘Take it easy.’ I don’t like people to take it easy on me, they need to play me like they would play anybody else," said Tyler.
Tyler just completed his senior season of football. He hasn’t decided where he wants to attend college at yet, but he wants to study agriculture.