Keeping his winning spirit: Caro freshman who injured his spine returns to hero’s welcome on homecoming | News


A local football player who injured his spine in an ATV crash is keeping a winning spirit.

When Austin Bennett was hospitalized more than two months ago, he no longer could feel his legs, and doctors expected things to stay that way.

“He’s a beast, you know. He’s only 14. Six foot two, he was 230 when he got hurt and still growing. And strength unbelievable,” said Chad Bennett, Austin’s father.

He has the imposing physique of a future all-star, but on July 24 an ATV crash sidelined Caro High School freshman Austin Bennett.

“I flipped five times,” he said. “The last flip, I guess, I flung out of the windshield, landed right on my back, and broke my spinal cord. T-10 was the injury and I’m paralyzed from here down.”

He watched Caro’s homecoming game from the sidelines Friday as an honorary team captain.

“I really wanted to be here and play this game actually right here. Of course, I can’t, but,” Bennett said.

He is thankful he has feeling in his legs.

“They said that he would never feel anything, that he would never walk and every single day it’s a new miracle,” Chad Bennett said.

“I guess I proved them wrong. And I’m going to keep proving them wrong until I walk again,” Austin Bennett said.

Chad Bennett said Saturday would have marked Austin’s second month at Mary Free Bed in Grand Rapids. He is home now and will be able to continue rehabilitating at Mary Free Bed at Covenant, but he still has a long road to recovery.

“We never know what’s coming. Some days it’s crazy how much he can feel, or some days it’s crazy how much he can move. Those things come and go, and we just have to roll with that,” Chad Bennett said.

Austin Bennett has dreams of hitting the field as soon as possible, but for now he is looking forward to the little things. Things most would take for granted, like seeing his friends every day.

“If you’re mad and sad, then that takes away from getting better,” Austin Bennett said.

“He just, he just continues to amaze us,” Chad Bennett said.

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