LATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A local high school athlete is out for the season after getting hurt in the first game of the year.
A football player from Shaker High School suffered a serious injury in the season opener, but a call from one of his favorite football players was able to put a smile on his face.
Gerard Rhatigan getting the surprise of a lifetime while in the hospital after a season ending injury.
“I just wanted to let you know to stay motivated and tackle that rehab,” Darkwa said.
Giants running back Orleans Darkwa called Rhatigan wishing him well after hearing about his injury.
“It’s been a tough time for him but getting that call definitely lifted his spirits,” Quarterback Joe Clausi said.
Clausi was on the field with Rhatigan in a game against CBA on Friday when Rhatigan was tackled and broke both his right leg and his left ankle.
“When he was on the cart he was getting taken off the field he said you guys better finish this game,” Clausi said.
They did ultimately beating CBA 31 to nothing.
“You always just associate passion for the game with Gerard,” Head Coach Greg Sheeler said.
Sheeler says it was upsetting for everyone to now have Rhatigan out for the season.
“He was having the time of his life playing with his teammates and to take that away so early in the year was really difficult for him to handle.”
Sheeler says there’s a lot of support for Rhatigan but not just because of his skills on the field.
“I said to him the outpouring for you and the people who are concerned for you is not because you’re a good football player it’s because you’re a great person.”
Less than two weeks ago, Rhatigan and a friend help saved a young girl from drowning in a pool.
That’s why Darkwa’s assistant Alexis Osborne says it was important for the Giants player to reach out.
“He has a support system just like Gerard and he has faith that Gerard will get through this,” Osborne said.
Darkwa offering words of encouragement during the call.
“You’re a competitor and I’m sure you have the heart of a champion so I’m sure it will pay off in the end,” Darkwa said.
Leaving Rhatigan in shock.
“How did that even happen?”
His team continues to rally behind him.
The team has their next game here at home on Friday night and they are planning something special for Gerard.