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|Ferriday's Davis fighting back from injury|
As a backup quarterback and cornerback for the Ferriday High School football team, senior Aaron Davis loved delivering hits.
But it was a hit he received away from the gridiron that ended his athletic career midway through his senior football season.
Last October, Davis and his cousin, Ronald Davis Jr., were changing a CV joint on the right front side of his 2001 Monte Carlo he purchased a month earlier when the jack shifted and the car came down on the right side of his head above his ear, fracturing his skull.
Ronald Davis Jr., went into the house and alerted his father, Ronald Davis and other uncle, Orlando Davis, to what had happened.
Both men picked the car up and pulled him Davis from underneath the car.
"I never blacked out," Davis said. "I was trying to sort out what had happened."
Aaron's mother, Dorothea Davis, was inside the house at the time.
"I heard a lot of activity and knew something was wrong," Dorothea said. "I walked outside and Aaron was already out from underneath the car. I saw he was conscious and responding. I tried to maintain my composure because I didn't want him panicking."
Davis was taken to Riverland Medical Center where a CT scan showed the fractures to his skull and he was airlifted to Rapides Regional Medical Center.
Dorothea Davis said one doctor wanted to perform surgery.
"I wasn't convinced," Davis said. "He thought there was some kind of swelling, but nobody's cerebellum is perfectly round, that's something you are born with."
Davis took her son to LSU-Shreveport Health and Services where a pediatric surgeon told her she felt Aaron did not need surgery.
She went with the second opinion.
"It was a very difficult decision," she said. "But it's one I'm so glad I made. He's gone back twice and everything looks great."
The injury caused neurological damage as Davis had double vision for three months and had trouble walking properly. He has now gone from a wheelchair to a cane.
Davis goes to therapy at Promise Hospital in Vidalia.
"Aaron is very attentive every time we go to the doctor," Dorothea said. "He was basically starting over when he began therapy in October. He's come a long way. He really can walk without the cane, but it's kind of sentimental. It belonged to his 99-year-old uncle who passed away a month ago. His name was Aron Williams. He has 99 notches in the cane, one for each year. Aaron is actually not wanting to give it up. But we invested in a treadmill at the house and he runs in place on that machine."
Promise Hospital Occupational Therapist Susan Blackburn said she was impressed with Davis from the start.
"My first thought was that he was very lucky," Blackburn said. "Aaron has definitely come a long way. He is very dedicated and a very hard worker. He's also very respectable and very mature. His dedication and attitude makes all the difference in the world. He continues to improve day by day and time will tell about making a full recovery. He's definitely had a longer road than planned, but he's very motivated."
Dorothea credits Aaron's laid-back demeanor and his determination with his progress.
"I could not be any prouder of how he has handled this," Dorothea said. "He's never asked why. His attitude has brought him through this. He has been able to persevere and worked hard to get back to where he is. He never felt sorry for himself, he just kept a positive attitude. And the support of the community and school has been tremendous."
Dorothea has four brothers and two sisters.
"If somebody needing something fixed or repaired or needed something like their grass mowed, Aaron would be the first name to come out of their mouths," she said. "They all wanted to be there for him."
Aaron has one brother, Alonzo Mark Watson, who lives with his father in Houston.
"Mark plays all sports, as well," Dorothea said.
Davis said playing football, basketball and running track has helped him recover from his injury.
"It taught me not to lose hope, to be a fighter and not give up," Davis said. "I think my physical condition helped also. I've always been competitive."
"Aaron is a real good kid," said former Ferriday High head coach Chad Harkins. "He did everything we asked him to do. He's a real solid young man and has a lot going for him."
Ferriday High boys basketball coach James Davis said Davis made great strides toward the end of his junior season.
"Aaron was shooting the ball well and playing aggressive defense," James Davis said. "I had big plans for him coming into this season. He is a very smart player and did a good job of getting teammates in the right spot, which is very important for a young ball club. He has a great head on his shoulders and was truly missed."
Davis, who is back attending classes, has been able to keep up with his studies.
"He had a reduced schedule and worked at Home Hardware," Dorothea said. "He was taking physics, advanced math and Engllsh 4. Ms.(Myra) Price has been really good, coming out to the house and helping him with his Science."
Davis, who scored a 21 on his ACT, has been able to maintain his 3.1 grade point average. He is currently ninth in his class academically.
Davis was Ferriday's nomination for the Miss-Lou Chapter National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame scholarship program on Feb. 24 in Natchez.
Davis was awarded a $1,000 scholarship.
"That was really a bigger deal than I thought it would be," Davis said."There were some big-time names there."
Davis said he plans to make a full recovery.
"I want to get back to running a five-or-six minute mile," he said.
Davis has gained from 140 pounds to 170 pounds since the accident.
"I've got to get back down to 140 ponds," he said. "I made some goals after the banquet because Coach (Larry) Fedora talked about goals and that's one of my goals, along with getting into the Air Force as soon as possible."
Davis had enlisted in the Air Force Academy and is still planning on attending the Air Force, doing his training in San Antonio.
"We talk with his recruiter weekly," Dorothea said. "He said as long as Aaron meets the physical requirements, he can still attend. But we have also applied at LSU as a back-up plan."
Davis, who turns 18 on May 20, said the toughest part of the injury was missing half of his football season and not being able to play basketball or run track, where he has been a long-distance runner for the Trojan track team.
"I was ready to get back on the field as soon as I could," Davis said.
The football team took Davis' No. 5 jersey with them to Mangham on Oct. 8 for their District 2-2A opener.
"They sent me pictures by phone," Davis said. "That made me feel real good."
Ferriday put forth its most complete game of the season, blanking the Dragons, 34-0.
It was the first time Mangham had been shut out all year, averaging just over 27 points a game going into the contest.
Davis was also on hand for Senior Night when Ferriday beat Sterlington, watching in a wheelchair from the stands. He was acknowledged at halftime of the game.
Ferriday dominated the Panthers 47-16 to set up its contest at Farmerville for the district championship. Ferriday won that game, 32-22.
"Sports has always been a major part of my life," Davis said.
Dorothea said Aaron has always been a very hands-on person.
"When he was two years old he would put things together and take them apart," she said. "He would go outside and find some wood and start building something. He always liked to re-arrange his room."
Dorothea said Aaron has never liked the classroom part of school.
"Although he will have that in the Air Force," she said.
Davis plans on being a civil engineer.
"He wants to be a heavy equipment operator, which has always fascinated him," Dorothea said.
"I want to be a civil engineer," Aaron said. "I would love to build bridges and roads. Louisiana can use some work on their roads."
But he also wants to learn to fly.
"I would love being up in the sky and looking down," he said.
Davis said the accident has made him more cautious when taking on projects.
"I've learned not to be careless, take precautions and work diligently," Davis said. "I was thinking about changing my oil the other day."
"I'm glad you were just thinking about it," Dorothea said.
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