Socastee football player out for the season, plans to return stronger next year

Socastee football player out for the season, plans to return stronger next year

SOCASTEE, SC (WMBF) – The football player injured under the Friday night lights is recovering after breaking his leg in three different places.

Minutes into the second half against St. James High School, Braves right tackle and defensive end, Austin Lilly went down, and couldn't get back up.  As he was lifted onto the stretcher, he assured fans he would be OK, by giving the crowd two thumbs up.

"I just wanted to show them, that I was alright. I mean it was a rival game so I just wanted to be like alright let's go beat them. I was alright, I was OK," Lilly explained.

Lilly, now back at school, is using crutches and a wheelchair to get from class to class. He says in the moment, he didn't know how serious his injury was. He just knew his bone was poking out of his leg.

"I looked down and realized something was wrong, so I just laid back down," Lilly said.

After re-watching the play, Braves head coach Doug Illing says it was a complete accident. As much as injuries are a part of the game, he just hates to see it happen to any player, especially one who's worked as hard as Austin.

"He's really starting to be a dominant player on both sides of the football force, you know we didn't lose one player we really lost two, because he was an offense and defensive lineman," Illing explained.

As coach, Illing says these accidental injuries can't really be prevented. As a player, Austin always knew these injuries were a reality.

"It wasn't really a shock. It was kind of a freak accident what did happen, but it's bound to happen to anyone," Lilly said

The reality is, Austin will be out the rest of the football season but his fellow classmates, and team mates are keeping his spirits high.

"At first I was like are they really calling my name, are they really chanting me," Lilly said.

"It was lifting like 'hey, I got support from my school,' Get better, and keep my head up and stuff," he added.

Even though there is a slim chance Austin will play again this season, he's not letting that get in the way of returning to the field his senior year. Until then, he will be cheering his team on from the side lines.

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