|SM Northwest senior Logan Miller was carted off the field|
against SM South, with his family close by. Miller fractured
his fibula, dislocated his tibia and fractured his ankle after
getting his leg caught during a pile-up. Photo Kevin Haley.
Article written by Johnny Carver, special to the Sunflower League Football Blog.
Some players heard it snap. With that sound, SM Northwest senior nose tackle Logan Miller’s high school football career was over.
“I just heard him yell and I freaked out,” said free safety Jake Hoskins. “I looked down and saw that his cleat and his ankle were rolled over his leg.”
What Hoskins saw, along with his teammates, was a fractured fibula, dislocated tibia, and a fractured ankle. It was second down on a goal line stand. SM South had the ball. Logan was double-teamed and the Raiders scored by pushing the pile forward. He was trapped under the bottom of the pile.
When cornerback Khalil Hattley saw him on the ground as the pile cleared, he turned and shook his head as if he saw something that wasn’t right.
“Jake Hoskins and I were the first two people to see it,” said Hattley. “The pile cleared up and I saw him and I yelled ‘Oh God.’”
It was so traumatic that Logan's father was signaled by Cougars’ head coach Lin Hibbs to come onto the field.
“Coach Hibbs normally stops the parents from coming when it isn't a significant deal,” said Scott Miller, Logan's father, “but he signaled me to come down immediately.”
When Scott got onto the field, trainers from both SM Northwest and SM South were working on him vigorously. Fortunately, SM South had a doctor on the sidelines who was able to set the ankle on the field.
“He was in immense pain and he was begging me to get him up to the sidelines so he could play again,” Scott said. “Looking at his leg and his ankle and knowing it was dislocated, I had to look at him and say that’s it and we’re off to the hospital.”
Although he says he knew his season was over immediately, he was still focused about getting back out there to play another down.
“All I could keep saying was that I still wanted to play,” said Logan. “It wasn’t fair to me that I couldn’t play the rest of my senior year.”
This says a lot about Logan, who is known for his competitive drive and energy. He is described as a high intensity player that gives everything he has on the field for his team. Scott says that still wanting to play in that moment is very typical of him.
“It reaffirms what I already knew about my son,” Scott said. “He’s a warrior.”
Up until the moment they loaded him onto the stretcher when the ambulance arrived, Hoskins held Logan’s hand to keep him calm.
“I knew that it was my moment to be there for him in his time in need,” said Hoskins. “We have a bond that’s so close. That was my chance to show him that I’m here for him.”
Logan says that he was pleased with how much both his teammates and friends supported him in his time of need.
“It took a lot for them to be strong for me,” Logan said. “A lot of them said they could hear it break. It must have been hard for them, and it shows you how much a football team can be a family.”
The injury was tough on Logan’s father, who has been watching him play since an early age.
“That was one of the most difficult things that you could go through as a parent,” Scott said. “You love the glory of them playing. I love to watch him play. When you see him on the field broken up on the field like that, it’s very difficult.”
He was rushed by ambulance to the Overland Park Regional Hospital emergency room.
Meanwhile, the team continued playing the remaining two and a half quarters without him. SM Northwest lost the game, 28-21, despite making a second half comeback. Cougar players said the injury had an impact on the team for the remainder of the evening.
“It killed me,” said Hoskins. “I was not the same player for the rest of that game.”
“It was tough because of the way that it looked,” said Hattley. “We knew he was most likely done for the season and that was the last game that I will probably ever play with him. It was a tough game to finish out.”
Miller had surgery the following Tuesday morning at the same hospital. A plate was inserted into his ankle in order to put his fibula back in place. Several screws were also inserted and his tibia was relocated. It was also determined that there was no tendon or ligament damage.
“We got a call Monday morning before the surgery and we were told that this was likely a career ending injury and that he’ll never play football again,” said Scott. “My wife and I elected not to tell Logan in order [for him] to keep a positive attitude. We also were hoping there could be a better outcome, but we did not want to put anything else on him until after the surgery where we would know exactly what was in play.”
Their hopes proved to be true. Logan's surgery was very successful, and he's been told that playing again is a possibility. Logan has offers from both Princeton and Penn, and Kansas has offered him a gray shirt opportunity. He is unsure if he wants to play again.
“I have so many more important things that I have to deal with right now than to think about my future,” said Logan. “Just being able to walk again is a big thing. Being able to go to school and not have to have a wheelchair is important. I want to be self-sufficient again.”
As for SM Northwest, they have big shoes to fill.
Logan was one of the four captains of the team. He started at offensive tackle and was making himself known as one of the most dominant linemen in the league. The goal-line stand during his injury was his first defensive stint of the season.
At 6-foot-2 and 285 pounds, he created mismatches with his size. The team will surely miss his talents and abilities, but what they miss the most is his leadership. Making up for the void is the inspiration that his absence has brought to the team.
“Our energy at practice was not the same without him initially," said Hoskins. “We were missing a man out there. It actually helps us now, because we have a 12th man with us at all times.”
Johnny Carver can be reached by email at email@example.com, and follow him on Twitter @CarverJohnny.