CHURUBUSCO — Garrett Horn didn’t want his last time under the Friday night lights at Churubusco High School to be the way he’d left it.
In the first game of 2017, Horn, the stand-out senior who was expected to have a blow-out season suffered a season-ending injury and was carried off the field by paramedics and firemen on a gurney.
Despite the injury — two broken bones in his leg — Horn hasn’t missed a game. At Friday’s senior night in Churubusco, Horn got the chance to redo his last time off the field as an Eagle football player — on his own two feet.
“I wanted to put on the uniform one last time — to be able to walk off the field one last time and not be carried off,” Horn said.
Head coach Paul Sade put Horn in the game for the very last play, as the Eagles had a substantial lead, had the ball and intended to take a knee.
“It might not have worked out the way we wanted to, but I was glad we were able to get him on the field again,” Sade said. “It was largely ceremonial, but for what he has done and continues to do for this team, we felt it was a good way to send him off. We were glad he could be out there for that final snap.”
Though Horn is no longer on crutches or in a cast, he still hobbles up and down the sidelines. He has a few more weeks until his next doctor’s visit, and he may be cleared to play basketball and track to finish out his senior year. Horn had to sit out half of last year’s basketball season due to a shoulder injury, a difficult pill to swallow, as he was a starter on the team that went on to win the first sectional title in Churubusco High School history.
Through it all, Horn has remained a stellar leader for his teammates.
“He’s a very tough, positive kid,” Sade said.
Horn’s not physically making a difference on the field this season, but he’s making a difference on the sidelines as a potential coach-in-the-making, carrying around an iPad with live game footage and mentoring his teammates.
“He does a great job working with the young kids, linebackers and fullbacks especially,” Sade said. “He’s making the most of this situation and he’s helping our team tremendously. The young kids respect him for what he has done.”
After college, Horn hopes coaching football is in his future.
“It’s been difficult, but it will help me in the long run,” Horn said. “I want to come back to this community and help coach — maybe one day I’ll be a head coach here.”
He’s making the most of it now, but Horn said his prognosis was a tough pill to swallow.
“It took me awhile to realize I wasn’t going to be able to come back and play this season,” Horn said. “It was hard when I first saw my X-ray that night. The first few days were frustrating, but my parents and family friends reminded me that I have a future ahead of me.”
Sade knows Horn’s football career isn’t over yet.
“He wants to get back on the field and he will. Unfortunately it won’t be this year, but he has a lot of football left in him,” Sade said. “It’s amazing to see what he’s doing out here. He’s not tanking it. He’s not out here pouting. He’s trying to make everyone else better and he’s doing a great job of that.”