As Miami closed the curtain on spring practice with a game and new uniform unveiling, the Hurricanes appear very lucky they weren’t also honoring a deceased teammate as well.
In late February, Hunter Knighton lost consciousness and collapsed during a workout session, sending the offensive lineman straight to the hospital and into intensive care. Knighton was released from the hospital two weeks later, although details were scant as to what exactly the player endured and fought through during that time.
Some of those details are now available and, quite frankly, they’re horrifying.
In a statement released through the university Saturday, Knighton explained that February day he had “a 109 degree body temperature and [was] unknowingly suffering with the flu,” which resulted in him being “stricken by a heat stroke.”
With symptoms such as “brain swelling, multiple seizures, kidney and liver failure,” an unresponsive Knighton “was placed on a ventilator for twelve days during which time I fought one of the greatest battles of my life against a loss of blood platelets, double pneumonia, and fever.” “By God’s grace, and with an amazing medical team at both Doctor’s Hospital and UM Hospital and with a great support group of family, coaches, and friends,” Knighton was able to exit both ICU and the hospital two weeks after being admitted. Despite the medical setback, Knighton has no intention of giving up his football dream.
“I am so close to achieving my childhood goal of playing Division I football and I am determined to make it happen,” a portion of the player’s statement read. “I plan to contribute this spring to my team and not only achieve my goal of playing major college football, but far surpassing it, and helping The U win games. Thank you to all of those who have supported me and prayed for me.”
Knighton, a three-star member of The U’s 2013 recruiting class, is a 6-foot-6, 278-pound freshman who redshirted last fall after undergoing shoulder surgery. While there’s no specific word on when Knighton will resume his playing career — he’s not participating in spring practice, obviously — he will have the full support of head coach Al Golden and the entire UM football program throughout his rehabilitation.
“As we entered the spring of 2014, Hunter Knighton was distinguishing himself as one of the top performers on our team,” the coach said. “He had completed our off-season training program ranked third among all of our offensive linemen and was emerging as a team leader. Hunter was so close to realizing his lifelong goal of starting at center in major football program when he fell ill.
“Since he first began the recovery process, Hunter has been nothing short of amazing and has been an inspiration to us all, approaching his rehab program with courage and fortitude. I have absolutely no doubt that Hunter will continue to persevere, make a full recovery, rejoin his teammates and realize all of his goals at The U.”