The Good Stuff: Journey to the sidelines

The Good Stuff:Journey to the Sidelines

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - ArkLaTex high school football teams are back on the practice field. And there’s one returning team member at Byrd High School who is the epitome of — if there’s a will, there’s a way.

“Experience is key to having a good team,” says longtime Byrd Head Football Coach Mike Suggs.

Alongside the Yellow Jackets’ returning offensive and defensive play makers, is a sophomore who made quite the impression with Coach Suggs, from the first day he walked into the head coach’s office last summer.

“I tell you right now, my heart was beating like crazy,” remembers Morgan Reeves, the day his then-senior cousin Nick Erwin walked with him into Coach Suggs’ office.

Former Byrd lineman Nick Erwin (#58) and cousin Morgan Reeves
Former Byrd lineman Nick Erwin (#58) and cousin Morgan Reeves

“I walked up there and said, ‘Coach Suggs, my name is Morgan Reeves’, and I shook his hand.”

Coach admits he thought Nick was bringing him a student who wanted to sign up to play football.

“I thought we had another player, he’s a good size player,” Suggs said.

But what Morgan said next wasn’t exactly championship music to Coach Suggs’ ears.

“He asked me about being a manager on the team. And the first thing I said, ‘Why do you want to be a manager?’”.

But, sadly, it had everything to do with what doctors discovered years ago.

Morgan's mother, Lindsey Reeves, says her son was in the third grade before she realized there was anything wrong with his hearing.

Morgan Reeves working the sidelines during the 2018 high school football season
Morgan Reeves working the sidelines during the 2018 high school football season

“He brought home a letter and it said he failed a hearing screening.”

Being forced to wear hearing aids wouldn't be enough to end is gridiron dreams.

But the required MRI taken before the hearing aids were installed revealed much more.

“The tonsils of the cerebellum are basically herniated, or stuck in the foramen,” Lindsey said.

"As the cerebellum continues to fall down that hole, it can cut off CSF fluid, which goes up and down the spine in the brain," a conversation which is still emotionally hard to recall without tears.

Lindsey says doctors were crystal clear — there will be no amusement parks, trampolines, or contact sports in Morgan’s future.

The fear is that any kind of contact to his head, while diagnosed with Chiari malformation syndrome, could cost Morgan his life.

“Believe me, I wanted to play,” Morgan said. “But God had other plans for me.”

Plans that may have kept Morgan off the football field as a player, but didn't keep him away from the game he loves.

“I can’t play football," Morgan said. "Instead of being mad about it, why don’t I go do what I can do to help them in every way possible.”

With that said, his coaches couldn’t be any happier with his decision.

“For him to be as determined and committed as he is, that says a lot about his character,” said Byrd Assistant Coach Stacey Ballew.

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