Campus gathers to show support for injured student

Tennessee Tech senior Drew Hixon was seriously injured during a football game at the University of South Florida on Sept. 11, and he remains hospitalized in critical condition in Tampa, Fla.

Late yesterday afternoon, Drew's fellow student-athletes were joined by TTU faculty, staff, students and Cookeville community members on the field at Tucker Stadium to take a photograph in his honor. The aerial photo is being sent to the Hixon family, displaying the university and community support and thoughts for Drew's quick and complete recovery.

The crowd assembled into Drew's uniform number seven, and the photograph was taken by Herald-Citizen Sports Editor Buddy Pearson from a plane. The event was planned by Magic 98.5 FM and Athletics.

Drew suffered a serious injury at the end of a play during the second quarter of Tennessee Tech's game against the University of South Florida. He received immediate medical attention on the field, was taken from the field on a stretcher, and transported by ambulance to St. Joseph's Hospital. He was unconscious at the time of the injury, and has not regained consciousness. He underwent tests that night that indicated a brain injury.

President Bob Bell was at the game and went to the hospital immediately following the injury.

"Our hearts and prayers are with Drew and his family," he said. "As a Tennessee Tech student and a Golden Eagle, Drew is part of a large community of caring people. Together we pray for his full recovery and return to our campus, and we hope that will be very soon."

In the two weeks since the USF game, the TTU Athletics department and the football office have received a number of cards and letters from well wishers on campus and off, and have been forwarding them to Drew's family in Florida.

"We've been getting so many cards and letters, it's just been so touching and overwhelming," said football secretary Peggie Parrott. "We've had two bunches of elementary school kids - one from Capshaw and one from a school in Florida - send in cards. Churches and other universities are sending cards. We're getting calls and e-mails - it's very, very touching, and I've really been moved by it."

FOR MORE DETAILS on Hixon's injury and his recovery, watch the Athletics web site for updates.