Hampton player improving after nasty spill

By Matt Hill

STAR STAFF
mhill@starhq.com

   Hampton boys basketball player Corey McKinney is recovering well following a scary accident during a game this week.
   McKinney suffered a concussion in Monday night's contest with Elizabethton, but is doing a lot better according to Hampton head coach Bud Hazelwood.
   McKinney had to be taken to the hospital after Elizabethton's Vince Redd accidentally landed on him. But luckily for McKinney, there wasn't anything broken.
   "I think they were worried about his neck," Hazelwood said. "He's got a good concussion, but nothing is broken. It was his second concussion. He had one in football. We always worry more after the second one."
   It was a moment that most people who were at the game will not forget. Hazelwood was grateful for the concerns and prayers by the Hampton fans and the Elizabethton supporters.
   "The gym became silent when they put him on a stretcher," Hazelwood said. "Just as many Elizabethton fans were cheering as Hampton fans when they took him out of the building."
   Even though McKinney is doing very well now, Hazelwood thought the accident was one of the scariest moments in all his years of coaching.
   "I've had people hurt backs, ankles and knees, that's just part of the game," he said. "But anytime you land on your neck or head, it could be permanent. That was the scariest thing I've ever seen happen in a game, period.
   "I just hope he gets well. I'm not concerned about basketball. He's a good kid. When you get more than one concussion, it's scary."
   McKinney could be back before the end of the season, but Hazelwood says that will be up to the doctor.
   But while McKinney is still recovering, he remains an integral part of the Hampton team.
   "I talked to him Tuesday before our game with Johnson County, and he said 'good luck in tonight's game and I hope they play hard,'" Hazelwood said. "He's a true Bulldog. Even though he's not there, he still wants us to play hard."