TRAVERSE CITY — Trevor Franklin is hoping to play again this season.
For that to happen, he might need some help from his teammates.
The Traverse City West junior forward suffered a broken vertebrae in a November car crash and has a slight chance to play again this year — but a playoff run by the Titans would help those chances.
TC West coach Jeremy Rintala said Franklin's chances of playing again this season could depend on the length of a West post-season march.
Franklin was totally immobilized for three days after the Nov. 4 crash. Now, he wears a brace that extends from his neck down to his hips to help the L2 vertebrae's healing.
He gets out of the brace the day before Christmas — "a good Christmas present," he said — and has a checkup on Jan. 3.
If all goes well at that checkup, he could be cleared for some additional activity and then February would be up to Franklin's pain tolerance.
"Maybe then I can get back on the ice," he said. "Even to be able to get back on the ice would be nice. I'd be happy."
Franklin was a passenger in a friend's car that lost control, skidded through a ditch and went airborne before striking a tree. Franklin said rain, darkness, speed and poor tires contributed to the crash.
"What really shook me up is my little brother was supposed to go with us," Franklin said. "The officer told us we had a 9 out of 10 chance of dying. We basically escaped death."
Another TC West student, sophomore Dalton Mitchell, was in the front passenger's seat and broke the three bones in his hand and his patella. Mitchell said he thinks the airbag — which probably saved his life — broke the fingers and the knee injury was from hitting the underside of the dashboard.
"The officer said if the car was to hit another foot toward my side or another foot toward (the driver's) side, either one of us would be dead," Mitchell said. "I definitely learned my lesson from it."
"We were coming around the corner and that's all I remember," Franklin said. "I woke up in the back seat of the car and my head was slouched over ... tucked in between the seat and the side of the car where the seat belt would go. ... I woke up to (the driver) tapping my leg to make sure I was alive. Both those two were awake during it and I got knocked out."
"He lost consciousness for a couple minutes," Mitchell said of Franklin. "He didn't seem to be in too much pain in the ambulance. He just said, 'My back's a little sore.'"
Franklin had to be extracted through the rear window after first responders wouldn't let Franklin get out on his own.
"I don't really remember the ride that much," Franklin recalled of the ambulance ride. "I just remember them hooking us up to IVs. ... It was like a movie. In some movies, they show scenes of people riding on stretchers and looking at all the lights. I just remember looking up and seeing all the lights."
Mitchell, a center and defensive tackle on the junior varsity football team this season, hopes to make a full recovery in time for lacrosse season.
The two were put in the same hospital room and West had a day off that Monday, so visitors flooded into the hospital.
"Sixty or 70 kids visited us," Franklin said. "I don't really remember anything. I was passed out, sleeping. What I do remember is waking up, and my neighbor Cy (Shoemaker), he's only 6 years old and he brought me balloons and one of them was a turtle. There was about 20 people in our room and I remember waking up and saying, 'Does everybody like my turtle?' and everybody laughed and then I fell back asleep."
"That was devastating," said West teammate Jake Saxton. "I went up to see him the day after. He was pretty beat up. It was pretty tough seeing him in bed there. He couldn't move."
The 16-year-old right wing is back on his feet, which is something teammate Erik Anton is trying to do as well as he recovers from transverse myelitis at a hospital in Grand Rapids.
"I feel bad for him," Franklin said. "I know how it is being in that bed and not being able to move. Just my first time walking, I felt like a kid again."
Franklin gave up hockey for skiing years ago. He made West's team last year and was hoping to be a key contributor this season.
West junior John Linenger has known Franklin since seventh grade.
"It's definitely hurt our team for sure," Linenger said. "He's got that experience that we needed. Hopefully we'll be able to get him back by the end of the year. We can definitely use him."
Franklin said he tries to go to as many West practices and games as possible, but it's sometimes difficult. Aside from the brace being an intentionally tight fit, he'd be more comfortable on the ice than watching it.
"I try to, but it's just too hard for me to watch my teammates play and me not be able to," Franklin said. "They're giving me and Erik a lot of support. They came to visited me — every single one of them. Even the coaches. I remember (assistant coach) Bob Spence coming in before work around 6 a.m. and he had a great big smile on his face. It was really cool."
TRAVERSE CITY — Trevor Franklin is hoping to play again this season.
Prep Sports Scoreboard: 04/24/2014
A roundup of prep sports results from across northern Michigan:Continued ...
Prep Roundup: Titans sweep Gaylord in BNC opener
From staff reports TRAVERSE CITY -- Paul Soma and Chase Cavric pitched Traverse City West to a 2-1 and 6-3 Big North Conference sweep of Gaylord on Wednesday that opened league play. Soma tossed a three-hit complete game in the opener, striking out fContinued ...
Shays reflect on Keflezighi's 'stellar race' in Boston Marathon
Soon after Meb Keflezighi won Monday's Boston Marathon, Stephan Shay sent out a congratulatory note to his friend. "Meb! Unbelievably stellar race!" he tweeted. Just below that post was a 2004 picture showing Stephan, his older brother Ryan, KeflezigContinued ...
Traverse City Alliance to open new rugby field on Friday
TRAVERSE CITY -- Expect to see a little extra energy when Christian Gallagher and the rest of the TC Alliance rugby team take the field on Friday to face Grand Rapids Catholic Central. Not only will it be the Alliance's home opener, but it also willContinued ...
Sports in Brief: 04/24/2014
Kids free fishing event canceled; Longboarding event coming to Onekama; 3 area shooters honored by BCAM.Continued ...
Track Roundup: West's Roush sets school record
From staff reports GAYLORD -- Tommy Roush set another school record as Traverse City West knocked off Big North Conference foes Cadillac and Gaylord in a double dual meet. West defeated Cadillac 95.5-76.5 and Gaylord 97-60. Roush -- who broke the shoContinued ...
- Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Lake overcomes cramps to finish Boston
Cramps didn’t stop Gary Lake from finishing his final Boston Marathon. The 67-year-old from Honor fought through a painful final eight miles to finish in just over five hours.Continued ...
Prep Sports Roundup: Late rallies propel Christian to sweep
Jacob Rorick squeezed in Cam Beemer with the game-winning run in the bottom of the sixth as Traverse City Christian edged McBain Northern Michigan Christian 7-6 in the first of two games. (Plus more)Continued ...
- Today in Sports: 04/23/2014
- Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Kiel records top Boston time out of area runners
Kyle Kiel’s Boston Marathon time was over 35 minutes improved from last year’s. Gary Lake’s was infinitely better.Continued ...
Prep Sports Roundup: TCW 11th; Scott ties for 1st
Alex Scott shot a 74 to tie for first overall as he led the Traverse City West boys golf team to an 11th-place finish Monday at the East Lansing Invitational at Walnut Hills. (Plus more)Continued ...
Sports in Brief: TC Roller Derby teams split
The teams of Traverse City Roller Derby participated as part of a tripl header of roller derby action at Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek on Saturday. (Plus more)Continued ...
College Notes: Otwell wins 1,500 meters at Jesse Owens Classic
Michigan State redshirt senior Julia Otwell (Traverse City Central) won the 1,500-meter run Friday in the Jesse Owens Track Classic at Ohio State. (Plus more)Continued ...
- Today in Sports: 04/22/2014
- Monday, April 21, 2014
Dennis Chase: Lions should take guesswork out of draft
With the NFL draft approaching, Detroit’s been teasing its long-suffering fan base by bringing in defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, receiver Sammy Watkins and outside linebacker Khalil Mack for meet-and-greets.Continued ...
Bowling Scores: 04/21/2014
Local bowling scores from Lucky Jack's:Continued ...
- Today in Sports: 04/21/2014
- Sunday, April 20, 2014
Unbeaten Titans roll past Central, 6-1
Trailing 1-0 early, the Titans responded with six unanswered goals over the final 58 minutes to beat crosstown rival Traverse City Central 6-1 in a Big North Conference soccer match at the Coast Guard field.Continued ...
Spanski to sign with Detroit Mercy
Brett Spanski can make a little history and be a trailblazer at the same time Wednesday.Continued ...
Prep Sports Roundup: TC Thunder romps at Thirlby Field
The Traverse City Thunder opened the lacrosse season Saturday with an 11-1 win over Muskegon Reeths-Puffer and a 12-3 decision over Sault Ste, Marie. (Plus more)Continued ...
- Saturday, April 19, 2014
Trojans dominate track invitational
From staff reports MUSKEGON -- It was a good Friday for Traverse City Central sophomore Anthony Berry. Berry was part of three records as the Trojans easily won the 15-team Rocket Invitational at Muskegon Reeths-Puffer with 228.5 points. "No questionContinued ...
Traverse City Hounds rally to beat Jersey Shore, 6-3
LAS VEGAS -- Traverse City closed out the UHU national tournament with a flurry, rallying with five third-period goals to knock off the Jersey Shore Wildcats 6-3. Things didn't look as rosy in the first two periods. The Hounds did take a 1-0 lead onContinued ...
- Friday, April 18, 2014
Hounds on verge of elimination in Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS -- Traverse City's penalty killing unit wasn't its usual self Thursday, allowing three power-play goals in a 6-2 UHU national tournament loss to the Soo Firehawks. In the regular season, the Hounds' penalty killers gave up a net three goalsContinued ...
Bob Gwizdz: Perfect day on the Manistee River
WELLSTON -- Tired of waiting for the St. Joseph River to clear up -- and having postponed our annual St. Patrick's Day (or thereabouts) steelhead sojourn already into April -- Jim Romine made the call: We were going to the Manistee River instead. AndContinued ...
DNR seeks solution to Vasa dispute
TRAVERSE CITY -- Fat tire bikers and cross country skiers are hoping for some sort of resolution to a brewing controversy on April 28. The two user groups have struggled to coexist in the first year since TART opened the Vasa trail to fat bikes as aContinued ...
- Prep Sports Scoreboard: 04/24/2014