‘The name of the game’
LARAMIE – Where is my facemask?
Where – where am I?
Am I on a stretcher? Is that an ambulance?
Those were just a few of the thoughts racing through Logan Harris’s scrambled mind when his consciousness slowly came back at midfield in Tulsa’s muggy H.A. Chapman Stadium.
More than two weeks after the hit that landed the Torrington product in an Oklahoma hospital, he sat in the special team’s meeting room Monday afternoon in Laramie, a red hoodie covering his bushy blonde hair and his trademark smile etched into his face.
His sense of humor is intact, too.
“I wish they would’ve,” Harris said when sarcastically asked if his curly long hair might have taken some of the impact of the helmet-to-helmet hit. “I was just hoping no one was going to cut it.”
Late in the third quarter, with quarterback Tyler Vander Waal scrambling to his right, Harris peeled back to attempt to slow a wave of Golden Hurricane defenders. Before he could land a block, he was blasted in the side of the helmet with the golden crown of a Tulsa one from his blindside.
Things went black. Fast.
“I got my (head) rung,” Harris smiled. “I’ve watched the
play a couple of times. I don’t think it was the initial hit, it was my head
bouncing off the turf. I don’t think the hit helped any.”
The 6-foot, 3-inch, 304-pound junior offensive guard laid
flat on his face, motionless for what seemed like 15 minutes. Imagine how long
it felt to him?
Harris’s teammates gathered around and took a knee. Head coach Craig Bohl helplessly looked on. Some prayed. Others were visibly shaken. That includes the home sideline. Tulsa's bench took a collective knee, too.
Harris said the scary part for him came next.
“My body went into shock,” he said. “It didn’t want to move. I couldn’t talk, but my mind was awake. I remember thinking, ‘this isn’t good.’ I have never been hit that hard in my life.
“I didn’t think the worst thoughts, but once they started
moving me around and giving me tests (on the field) I couldn’t move. I thought,
Harris said he came to just in time to hear a medical professional tell him to acknowledge the crowd.
“They told me to give a thumbs up or something,” Harris
laughed. “They said to make sure people could see it. At that point, I told
them I was good. They said it was protocol.
“Away we went.”
Over the next two-to-three hours, Harris was evaluated in a Tulsa hospital. He was given a CT scan, and his back and neck were tested. That’s when, he said, he saw the Stofer’s.
The parents of fellow offensive lineman, Rudy Stofer, rushed to be at Harris’s side. His own family couldn’t make the trip. Harris said he wasn’t expecting anyone to be there. The Cowboys still had one crucial quarter to play.
So, what went through his mind when he saw the Stofers?
“Seeing them was big,” he said. “Knowing that they had my
back was really reassuring. Everyone’s parents call the other guys on the line ‘their
kids.’ At games, they all sit together. It’s a really tight-knit group. It
meant a lot.”
The next hurdle was making it back to the runway to meet his
teammates at the airport for the trip back to Laramie. Doctors didn’t think
that would be a possibility at first. Instead, they told him he might have to
make alternative travel plans, which included a flight to Denver and the
two-plus hour drive up to Laramie Sunday.
“I thought that sounded like hell,” Harris joked.
His new mission was to get to the plane.
His team was back at the stadium. They came up three yards short of a win, which would’ve meant a perfect non-conference record. After the final whistle, the demeanor of the players was as expected. They weren’t in a good mood. But that had little to do with the loss for most. They were concerned about their teammate.
From Sean Chambers on down, each expressed their concern and how they wanted to win that one for Logan. His fellow offensive linemen took the hit personal. Frank Crum didn’t even want to watch the replay or share his thoughts about what transpired. He knew he would get himself in hot water if he gave his opinion on the flag-less play.
Their new mission was to see Harris get on the plane.
As the team climbed on board, it didn’t look like that was
going to be a possibility. Yet, they waited – and waited.
Roughly and hour later, headlights pulled up to the side of
the charter. It was Harris. And he was walking unassisted.
“It meant a lot to know that I was able to get on the plane
on my own,” Harris said.
Inside, his teammates, coaches and trainers all gave him an
That’s a moment, though blurry at the time, Harris said he
will never forget.
“That’s how it goes for everyone on this team,” he said. “If it wouldn’t have been me, we would’ve tried to win for that guy. They told me they took it personal, as I would’ve if it would’ve been someone else.”
Harris started concussion protocol last Monday. He said he feels a lot better. He stood on the sideline and watched his team thrash UNLV, 53-17, in Saturday’s conference opener. He gave praise to his replacement, Patrick Arnold. He talked about the resolve of this team, who was without a number of starters.
Was it the perfect time for a bye week? A resounding, yes, Harris
Will he be timid or scared about getting back on the field in
San Diego next Saturday night?
Not a chance.
“I told my mom and family – that’s the name of the game,” he
said. “It happens. I wasn’t expecting that, but he got me right in the sweet
“I’ll be just fine.”