A ninth-grade Aledo track standout who was the victim of a freak accident with a deer has returned to the varsity team and says his story offers a lesson for everyone: “Never stop trying.”
Jack Fink, 14, has always loved to run.
"I've been running long distance since I was in third grade,” Fink said. "It's the wind in my face. Just going as fast as possible."
One morning last month, Fink was running along a golf course not far from school --- practicing with his team -- when something faster than him hit him hard from behind.
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"I saw the sky and then I saw the ground and then my ears started ringing," he said.
Some teammates saw what happened and helped him up.
"They told me a couple of minutes after, 'Jack, you got hit by a deer!' And I was like, 'What? There's no way,’” he said Monday.
He never even saw the deer, he said.
Fink was OK at first but as the hours went on his head started hurting. Fink then went to Cook Children’s hospital.
"They took me straight back to surgery and they told my mom and dad, ‘Hey, he may not make it,’" he said.
X-rays found a skull fracture and bleeding in his brain. He needed six titanium screws to relieve the pressure, screws that will stay inside his head for the rest of his life.
He spent a few weeks at home recuperating but wanted to run again. Not sure if he was up to it, his coaches put him on the junior varsity team at first.
"It's the craziest and the scariest thing I've had to deal with in my coaching career, bar none,” track coach Mike Pinkerton said of the incident. "He said, 'Coach, I'm getting my spot back!’” Pinkerton said.
At the junior varsity meet, Fink came in first. He then got his varsity spot back.
"I felt like, 'OK I can do this again. I'm back. I'm ready to run again,'” Fink said.
At a regional meet Monday in Lubbock, Fink was the fastest ninth-grader in the entire area.
The state competition is in Round Rock next month, and Fink will be there with his team.
"There's no excuse. You have to go through life and try your hardest with everything,” he said. “Never stop trying and just run."