Mineral Wells Area News

Strawn player returns to sidelines weeks after brain surgery

Strawn player returns to sidelines weeks after brain surgery
November 05
09:36 2023


Special to Mineral Wells Area News

STRAWN – Friday night was a big night for the Strawn Greyhounds in more ways than one.

They were facing the Gold-Burg Bears, needing a win in the season finale to make the playoffs. They also welcomed back to their sidelines a teammate who was missing the last several weeks – Keaton Tunnell.

Following the Greyhounds’ 70-24 win over Gold-Burg Friday night, Strawn Head Coach Dwaine Lee places a hand on the shoulder of Keaton Tunnell, acknowledging Keaton’s return to the team just weeks after undergoing brain surgery to remove a brain cyst.

The junior lineman underwent life-saving brain surgery Oct. 13 for a cyst discovered only after an injury to his torso during the Greyhounds’ game the previous week at Ranger.

“Oh my God, it was so good seeing him,” said Head Coach Dewaine Lee. “It was awesome. He was walking around and smiling, for a guy who just had brain surgery. It was the best feeling in the world seeing him. Our kids loved it.”

Keaton said he was released from the hospital last Saturday, Oct. 28, and returned home. He said he hopes to resume attending classes Tuesday.

He said he is still working on regaining his strength with at-home physical therapy procedures. During Friday’s game – a resounding 70-24 win for the Greyhounds – Keaton alternated between standing and talking with teammates and taking breaks sitting on the bench.

Watching and not playing was hard, he said, adding he is unsure if he will be able to play next year. That will be decided later based on his recovery.

Strawn junior lineman Keaton Tunnell gives a thumb up sign during Friday’s home finale against Gold-Burg. Keaton underwent emergency brain surgery Oct. 13 to remove a brain cyst, discovered as the result of an injury to his side the previous week.

The hard knee Keaton took to the side of his body was perhaps one of the luckiest blows a football player has ever received, even though it sent him to the hospital immediately after the hit, and then again six days later as he was struggling to recover.

“I went in for my hip,” Keaton said of his second trip to the hospital. “I was scared because I didn’t want internal bleeding.”

The doctors performed a full body scan and found something else – a large cyst on his brain, one that could have gone undetected until it was too late had it not been for the injury.

“When they first told me I wasn’t really worried about it because of the way the doctor at Eastland described it. I didn’t see an image of it,” said Keaton of the cyst. “He just sent me over to Cook’s (Children’s Medical Center).”

Once there, doctors prepared him for surgery the following day.

Keaton said he tries not to think about what might have happened to him had the cyst not been discovered. He knows it could have killed him in the blink of an eye.

“It’s not something I think about,” he said. “I would have never known it was there.”

Keaton will be monitored in the future to look for any development, or redevelopment, of cysts.

Coach Lee opened a GoFundMe account online to accept public donations to help Keaton’s family financially. To date $7,125 has been donated. Donations can still be made by clicking here.

Keaton expressed his appreciation to everyone for their thoughts, prayers and donations.

“Thank you for everything. It is much appreciated,” he said.


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