Pearcing the hard times: Lions leader returns from injury

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 17, 2007

It was a routine rollout by Kingwood Christian quarterback Andrew Pearce that resulted in a hard hit in the second quarter of his final playoff game.

&8220;He gets injured and taken out of the game a lot,&8221; said Kingwood basketball coach Chris Simpson who was working the gate that night. &8220;I thought he just had the wind knocked out of him.&8221;

Andrew, his family and team all thought the same.

It wasn&8217;t until the third quarter that Andrew realized something was wrong and took himself out of the game. Moments later he was in an ambulance on his way to Shelby Baptist Medical Center.

The tackle from behind by a Wilcox defender brought him down, abdomen first, on top of another defender&8217;s cleat. The initial damage report was that surgeons would be forced to remove Andrew&8217;s spleen and half of his pancreas.

&8220;We went from celebrating touchdown passes on Friday night and looking at colleges to now wondering if he&8217;s even going to make it through surgery,&8221; said Pearce&8217;s father Chip.

However exploratory surgery at the University of Alabama-Birmingham Hospital showed just a laceration to the pancreas and liver, injuries far less serious than first thought.

After a month in the hospital on a feeding tube, Andrew went home a few days before Thanksgiving vowing that he would finish out the basketball season.

&8220;I fully intend on playing at the start of the year,&8221; Chip recalled Andrew telling doctors a few weeks before Christmas.

Andrew held true to his pledge, returning to the Lions&8217; starting lineup on Friday night, Jan. 5 against Springwood.

&8220;There was an electricity in the air that when you think about it, it still gives you chills,&8221; Simpson said of Andrew&8217;s name being called for the starting lineup.

Since his return, he has led the Lions to four victories with an average of 3.5 assists per game.