A 14-year-old football player from Saucier who suffered a neck injury Thursday night is doing better today, resting at home after he was released from the hospital late Thursday night.
Austin Shaw, who plays on the eighth-grade team for West Wortham Middle School, was injured during a game against East Central Middle School at H.D. Shirley Field.
He had been airlifted to the hospital from a field in Hurley.
Austin, who was playing defensive end, complained of neck pain after making a tackle.
Medical personnel suggested the helicopter would be the much quicker and more comfortable way to take him to Memorial Hospital at Gulfport, his mother, Shonda Mullikin, said Friday. The ambulance was still 30 minutes away from the stadium at that point and it would have been a difficult hour-long ride to the hospital for the young man.
The helicopter landed on the field at 8:02 p.m. and flew him to Memorial.
"They did a CAT scan last night and everything looked good," Mullikin said. "They said he had a spasm in his neck. He will be sore for a few days and besides the bruising on his forehead, a black eye and scraped-up knuckles, he is doing good."
Mullikin rushed to the hospital to be with her son after the helicopter lifted off from the stadium. She dealt with a slight delay when she was pulled over by a state trooper en route, but after she explained her situation and the trooper checked it out, he gave her an escort to the hospital.
"I was very thankful," she said. "Everyone was great. The medical staff at the field was great. Even the two ladies from the (East Central) side came over and prayed for him."
It didn't take Austin long to talk about returning to the football field.
"He said he is ready for their homecoming game next week," Mullikin said.