High School Sports

Triumphant return: Issac Lindsey back on Templeton sideline after devastating injury

Isaac Lindsey inspires Templeton High football in season-opener

Nearly one year after suffering a traumatic brain injury during a game, Isaac Lindsey led his team onto the field in a triumphant return.
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Nearly one year after suffering a traumatic brain injury during a game, Isaac Lindsey led his team onto the field in a triumphant return.

Issac Lindsey held an American flag as he stood with his Templeton High School teammates near the end zone before Friday night’s game against Strathmore. Along with it, he carried a smile as big as his muscular forearms.

Lindsey had already led the team onto the field, and in the process reached another milestone after suffering a near-fatal head injury during a game last season. Almost one year ago, Lindsey ran onto the field carrying the Templeton flag before a game against San Luis Obispo. After being carted off the field and to the hospital a few hours later, a photo of that moment became the symbol of Lindsey and his spirit as he worked to rehabilitate from his traumatic brain injury.

On Friday, Lindsey walked instead of ran as he entered the field.

Just before the Templeton band started to play the national anthem, head coach Tyler Lane approached him.

“Just in case you didn’t know,” Lane said, “we have four captains tonight. We already announced three of them. Number four is you, buddy.”

“Oh my gosh. Hell yeah, baby! Hell yeah!,” Lindsey exclaimed as his teammates cheered. “That means the world to me coach. Thank you.”

“I love you,” Lane said.

“I love you, too.”

Anyone who has come within 100 yards of Lindsey would know that nothing could keep him away from the field for the opening home game of the 2016 season. Not even the fact that he was wearing a Templeton polo shirt and blue jeans instead of helmet and pads, a uniform he desperately wants to don again but will never again be able to.

“I told him, last year the whole team felt your absence and a whole team supported you. And this year, you can’t give out there, but you can give from here,” Jenny Lindsey, Isaac’s mom, said pointing to her heart.

Jenny Lindsey said that it is painful for her son to think about the “Team Isaac” and “No. 32” stickers that still cover cars and trucks all over Templeton.

“He is ready to go to the next chapter,” his mom said. “He is already talking about trying to do shot put and discus for track.”

But on Friday night, Lindsey was back at home.

“It was amazing,” he said after the game. “It felt great. It was a re-welcoming. I loved it.”

Lindsey said it was “awesome” to be on the sideline again and an extra bonus to have his close friend, Nate Avery, and brother, Louis, a player on last season’s team who is now graduated, next to him.

On top of his goal of joining the track and field team, Lindsey said he is back in the weight room and can bench 275 pounds five times.

“To him, he feels like he’s weak,” Jenny Lindsey said.

He is also back on campus and doing school work, but Jenny Lindsey said the long day can be tiring and he uses the last period of the day to go to therapy and doctor’s appointments.

“Something you have to be patient and allow time,” Jenny Lindsey said. “His attention and his memory are getting better all the time.”

As Lindsey continues his road to recovery, he will continue to be a fixture on the Templeton sideline, leading prayers and shaking hands with the opposing team after the coin flip as he pursues his ultimate goal of attending college when he graduates.

After the coin flip Friday night, as his Templeton teammates jogged off the field, Lindsey walked behind them.

Suddenly he looked up and realized he was falling behind. Then he picked up the pace and started to jog. Eventually, he caught up.