Mineral Wells Area News

Prayers go up for Strawn football player

Prayers go up for Strawn football player
October 22
16:03 2023


Special to Mineral Wells Area News

STRAWN – Little did Strawn Greyhounds junior lineman Keaton Tunnell know that an injury suffered two weeks ago would save his life.

The big 11th grader took a hard knee to the side of his body while playing against Ranger on Oct. 6. The blow was serious enough that Tunnell was taken to a local hospital to make sure there were no internal issues.

He returned home, but he had a difficult week trying to recover from the hit, said Head Coach Dewaine Lee.

Strawn junior lineman Keaton Tunnell’s No. 55 jersey was draped over the fence behind the Strawn sidelines during their game Friday night at Newcastle. Team captains carried his jersey to midfield for the opening coin toss. Tunnell underwent surgery to remove a brain cyst discovered after being hurt two weeks ago against Ranger.

“They kept him out of practice. He wasn’t feeling good Thursday,” said Lee. “They took him to the emergency room in Eastland and they did a full-body CAT scan to look at his side and they found that he had a cyst on his brain.”

Lee described the cyst as “the size of a lemon.” Tunnell was quickly transported from Eastland to Cook Children’s Hospital. Emergency surgery took place the following day.

A Go Fund Me fundraising effort seeks to help the family of Strawn junior center Keaton Tunnell. The 11th-grader is hospitalized after undergoing emergency surgery to remove a brain cyst.

“They said they did save his life because it was growing,” said Lee.

Since the surgery, Lee said the young man is fighting some post-surgery complications. Players, students and friends visited Tunnell, who Lee said is always smiling. But that smile is missing.

“He is a big kid but he wasn’t himself,” Lee said of his junior center who is listed on the team’s roster weighing 230 pounds. 

On Friday night at Newcastle, Tunnell’s No. 55 jersey was carried by team captains to midfield for the pre-game coin flip. The jersey was then draped over a pipe-fence behind the Strawn sidelines. It was a way the team could have their teammate with them in spirit, if not in body.

Lee has initiated an online fund-raising campaign for the family on Go Fund Me. On the donation page page, Lee writes:

“We are reaching out to you today to rally behind an incredible young athlete, Keaton Tunnell, who is currently facing one of the toughest challenges of his life. As an 11th-grade football player with immense talent, a bright future, and an indomitable spirit, Keaton has always given his all on the field. Now, he needs our support and encouragement during a difficult time.”

“The surgery was successful, but it’s going to be a long and arduous journey to recovery. It’s a situation that no one could have predicted, and Keaton and his family have been deeply impacted both emotionally and financially.”

“Let’s come together as a community and show Keaton that he is not alone in this fight. Your support, prayers, and donations are all greatly appreciated. Together, we can help Keaton on his road to recovery and get him back on the football field, where he belongs.”

To make a donation, go to this link, Go Fund Me and click the “Donate Now” button. As of Sunday morning, $2,705 has been donated, more than halfway to the effort’s goal of $5,000.


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