Paralyzed athlete still playing his part in Excelsior Springs football team’s success

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EXCELSIOR SPRINGS, Mo. -- An Excelsior Springs teenager who was paralyzed in an ATV crash in February is back at school and back with his team.

Greg Murphy, 16, isn’t on the football field, but he’s still been part of the Tigers' success this season.

Perhaps inspired by his fight to walk, the Tigers have already won more games this year, five, than the last two combined.

“I was pretty devastated when I found out, because a close friend like that, it’s just crazy to think about,” junior wide receiver Caleb Romazon said.

Murphy spent months in physical therapy, finally returning to school in August. That’s when his athletic director told him he still wanted him to be part of the football team.

“I came back to school to make sure everything was in place for me, and he was like hey if you want to do this, I’ve got a job for you,” Murphy recalled.

He now spend game days in the press box operating the scoreboard. His friends say Murphy’s injury has made them realize they are only a split second from the clock running out on their careers.

“We just go and play every play for him, because you never know what’s going to happen, so you just have to take every play 100 percent,” junior quarterback Peyton Soria said.

For Murphy, running the clock is a way to be a part of the game he loves and had played since third grade.

“I’d love to be down on the sidelines playing with them and stuff, but unfortunately I’ve got the next best thing just sitting here and watching them,” Murphy said.

“It means a lot to us, it shows us that he really cares about us still even though he can’t be out there with us,” junior running back Landon Seely said.

Murphy goes out to eat with teammates after every win. This year that’s been so often they are in contention for a district title. For Romazon, one of his best friends since kindergarten, there’s only one thing that could be better than winning that for him.

“Definitely seeing Greg walk again, that would just make my day, it would be amazing to see that again, and I know it’s going to happen,” he said.

After spending the season in the booth, Murphy said he's not interested in coaching if indeed his playing career his over, calling it "too nerve wracking." He says he will be happy just being a fan of the game.