Injury ends Flushing senior’s dream

Before it even started, Flushing student Blake Hunt’s football career is likely over.
The Jamaica teen was severely injured in a four-team scrimmage Saturday, September 1 with Erasmus Hall, Long Island City, and Stuyvesant A. He apparently broke the C5 vertebra in his neck during the scrimmage at Flushing Memorial Field and was taken to New York Hospital Queens. He is still there, in the pediatrics unit, in “fair condition,” according to the hospital’s spokesperson, Cynthia Bacon.
After hearing about Hunt’s injury, two players from the New York Jets, fullback Stacy Tutt and offensive lineman Jacob Bender visited with him on Tuesday, September 11.
Following that visit by the Jets, his step mom, Tasha Hunt, said her son “was in good spirits. We can’t give out any [more] information.”
“This is a serious injury,” his father Greg said.
Hunt, 17, is a football enthusiast. Every Sunday and Monday night, he would watch games with his parents, following his favorite team, the Atlanta Falcons, and playing gridiron video games on Playstation. Tasha Hunt also described him as a caring and unselfish son.
“He is the most generous person you would know,” she said. “If you had one dollar and you needed something to eat, and it was his last dollar, he would give it to you. It’s shame something like this happened to him.”
Hunt had surgery the day after the injury and has regained movement in his arms. However, Hunt still has no feeling from the waist down, and may not walk again, according to published reports. School officials chose not to return phone calls for comment.
A 5-foot-6, 140-pound defensive back/running back, Hunt was one of five seniors on Flushing, who have a varsity team for the first time since the program was disbanded in 2001. Looking to make a tackle during the scrimmage, he sustained the injury when the ball carrier’s knee came up and hit him in the head, snapping his neck back.
“He’s a special kid,” Flushing Coach Jim DeSantis said. “He’s the kind of kid you want to coach. He always went 100 percent; he always had a smile his face.”
DeSantis first noticed Hunt during the summer while playing a game of two-hand touch at Levitt Field in Flushing. He encouraged him to try out for the team, and Hunt was with them during the summertime Big Apple Games. He was in the running to be the starting tailback until the injury.
The school has plans to start a fund in Blake’s honor, but it has yet to be set up. Flushing has not contacted the family, Tasha Hunt said. The family has only been in contact with DeSantis since the injury occurred.
DeSantis took over the program three years ago. The first season they were a developmental program and last year they only had a jayvee program. Since Hunt was a junior then, he was too old to play.
An assistant coach with Bayside for 13 seasons and a football player for Springfield Gardens and Central Connecticut, DeSantis had never been a part of such an incident.
“I played since I was eight years old,” the coach said. “You always hear about it, but it was always in Texas or somewhere else. It never hit home. Unfortunately, this one’s home.”

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