NORTH CANTON, Ohio - Injured Walsh University football player Brett Wycinski is making significant progress as he battles to overcome a severe brain injury he suffered during an intra-squad scrimmage last month.
Defensive coordinator Fred Thomas said Wycinski, 21, walked with assistance Monday at Mercy Hospital in Canton.
It marked the first time he took literal steps since he collapsed at a scrimmage inside Fawcett Stadium on Aug. 18.
Thomas and Wycinski's teammates said Wycinski is making major strides in other areas. For example, he is able to talk with friends and family and eat on his own.
"He gave mom a kiss. The first thing he did was give mom a kiss and ask for his cell phone, which is awful good," Thomas said.
"He was eating pizza the other day and he seems to be back to his normal self in the most part. I know it's a slow process," said Michael Koozer, who plays tight end for the team.
His teammates are wearing Wycinski's "#12” on their helmets to keep him in their thoughts during games.
The team's next game is Saturday in Michigan. They won their opening game last Thursday against Kentucky Wesleyan College, 40-10.
Wycinski, of New Lexington, plays strong safety. He was injured during a pile up in a team scrimmage. After he stood up, he became wobbly and appeared to have a seizure, coaches said.
Alex Pickel, the team's videographer, was shooting video from the press box when the injury happened.
"It was definitely a gut check about how something so serious can happen in just an instant," Pickel said.
Cory Farcas, Wycinski's roommate and outside linebacker for the Cavaliers, has talked with Wycinski at the hospital within the past week.
"He has asked me how football is going, how school is going and he's obviously very upset he can't play with us, but he knows we're thinking about him all the time," Farcas said.
Thomas said Wycinski had part of his skull removed to help reduce brain swelling and doctors are optimistic.
"We're hoping for a full recovery. We're hoping for a speedy and full recovery," Thomas said.
Wycinski's family is posting updates on his progress on the website CaringBridge.org.
NewsChannel5 reporter Bob Jones will have more reaction from coaches and teammates later today on NewsChannel5 at 6.
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