Brandon Burkes tells us he will be on the sideline for the Carver game this Friday night

Posted by Andy Durham on August 16, 2010 at 11:55 pm under High School | 5 Comments to Read

Brandon Burkes(Dudley High School) broke his neck during football practice last week and now he will be on the sidelines for the Panthers’ game, against Winston-Salem Carver, at Dudley on Friday night…..

This young man has a lot of determination and willpower and he told me tonight(Monday), that he will be standing on the Panthers’ sideline, or take a seat with his teammates on the bench, for the season-opener/home-opener Friday….

He broke his neck during an Oklahoma drill last Monday, was back in practice the next day, went into surgery at 2pm on Thursday and was on his way home yesterday(Sunday) morning…

This is a very upbeat kid, that sees the glass still half full and the glass will be full of positive opportunities, even before this brief setback is over….

Brandon Burkes has come through this whole ordeal with a great attitude and his main objective is keep moving and be ready to start serious rehab in 6-8 weeks….

Brandon said he will need to wear his neck and upper body cast for the next 6-8 weeks, but he can take the cast off a few times a day.

It will be a huge inspirational lift for Brandon and his Panther teammates, when he is on the field with his friends for the game this Friday….You know it will help Brandon to be there and it will give his team a lift, to know he can be there to support them.

Brandon just says that he doesn’t want to be a burden to his family, but if you ask me, this young man is a blessing to his family and all of his friends and the people he comes in contact with…Brandon Burkes does not want to sit around, this kid wants to move and he still is and he will continue to move up and inspire all those that are around him.

Back to last week, when he broke his neck, how did it happen?

The injury occurred during an Oklahoma drill, a drill we were talking about here at the site, just two weeks ago….Brandon hurt his neck, when he tackled the ball-carrier with some head-to-head, helmet-to-helmet contact….Oklahoma is a very tough drill, it teaches you to react quickly, take on the blocker, shed the blocker and then take on the ball-carrier…

I asked Brandon if anything felt strange after he made the hit?

Brandon said he felt a twinge, sort of like a stinger, but that was all, nothing serious, no serious pain….He also told me that there was never a time when he couldn’t move…

He went right on practicing after it happened, but Coach Mac(McMillian) stopped him right quick and asked him if he was sure he was OK…..Coach Mac took him to the doctor to get checked out after practice was over at 8pm and practice had started at 6pm…

Brandon sounded great tonight(Monday) and as I said earlier, he is in great spirits….

Brandon told me the doctors gave him something for the pain and it helped on Monday and he went back to doctor on Tuesday and still went to practice on Tuesday, but he just watched….

He told me during the whole time, that the pain was never severe, but it was just an aching pain in his neck…Brandon was later admitted to Moses Cone Hospital after the tests on his neck revealed he had two broken bones in his neck, but there was never any paralysis and the surgery, which was performed on his neck on Thursday at 2pm and lasted for five and a-half hours, the surgery was never something that Brandon dreaded, it was just something he wanted to get behind him….He looked forward to getting that neck surgery finished, so he could get to work on getting well….Brandon said he just wanted to get it over with, so he could get back on the field…

Brandon Burkes experienced a very quick recovery, with surgery on Thursday afternoon and he was headed home on Sunday morning.

With the rehab in progress, Brandon will have to take it easy for 6-8 weeks and as we mentioned earlier, his neck and upper body cast is removable and he can take it off and then put it back on….

Brandon Burkes has set his goals to be back on the baseball field next spring and even though the doctors have advised no more football for Brandon, he still sees himself lining up and getting back on the football field next fall….Brandon said he has played football since he was a little boy and it is in his heart to play the sport he loves again and I would not put it past him….This young man has determination and willpower and if anyone could come back from something like this, this young man would be the one to do it…..We may have to take Brandon down to Dr. James Andrews in Auburn, Alabama, to see if the doctor will give Brandon a clean bill of health and offer up his advice on playing football again….Dr. Andrews is the best in the business and he knows all the ins and outs…

Brandon has the mindset that tells him he can play football again and we will just have to wait and see and make sure we keep this young man in our thoughts and prayers….

Brandon Burkes told me he appreciates all the prayers that people have been offering up and that his entire Dudley team came to see him the day after his surgery and he went down to the lobby to see his Panthers, cause there was no way to get the whole team into his room upstairs…Less than 24 hours after surgery and he was up and going, down to the lobby to meet with his team….Brandon said the Grimsley football team and coaches sent him a nice get-well basket and that he has heard from so many different people and wants to again say, thank-you to everyone….

I asked Brandon if he would be up and around, so he can watch some football this season and support his Panthers and he told me, as I relayed previously, “I will be at the game on Friday night”….Brandon will be there when Dudley takes on WS Carver on Friday night at Tarpley Stadium and WFMY TV 2 Sports, has tabbed this as their “Game of the Week”….Brandon will stand on the sidelines, or take a seat for a few minutes, on the Panther bench….

I asked about school starting back on the 25th and he said that he will get home-schooled and have a tutor come in to help him, because it is too dangerous to be at school, with all the crowds in the hallways and someone might bump into him and hurt his back or neck again…..”You want to do a lot, but you have to be careful”, said Brandon….

I said to Brandon, that he will miss it, but that he needs to know that there is a plan for his life out there and I feel he will achieve….

Brandon said that the long-term plan will work for Burkes, even though he will be home-bound when school starts back in the beginning, next Wednesday….

Brandon is a very humble and encouraging young man and it really makes you respect what he is trying to do in his comeback, as he tells me one more time, “I just don’t want to be a burden on my family”….

You have to appreciate a young man who wants to get better soon and you just know he will never be a burden on his family, but this kid is a big bundle of Brandon Burkes blessings and we are lucky to have a good young man like Brandon around and this kid is brave and he will bounce back, better than ever, you just know he will…

He is on the quick path to that comeback/recovery already…..Brandon said that around midnight last Thursday, only an hour or so, after his five and a-half hour neck surgery, he was sitting back, eating a sub sandwich….

Brandon Burkes will be back and don’t ever overlook the determination and willpower, that this young man possesses….Just talking to him on the phone will make you believe in Burkes….

Keep that on your list of things to do and to remember, “Believe in Brandon Burkes, cause he will be back, bigger, braver and better than ever and it won’t be long till you’ll see this young man, trotting around the bases at Dudley, after another Burkes blast over the fence and the baseball headed down toward Florida Street for a home run, with Brandon headed toward home, leading the Panthers to another victory…..

“Believe in Brandon Burkes, he’s on his way back”……


  • Chris said,

    Good for you Brandon! Never give up!

  • Dudley Panthers 4 life said,

    WE LOVE YOU BRANDON!!!!!! The dudley panther family and especially your teammates can not wait to see you friday night on the sideline against carver… this season is for you BIG BURKES!!!! we are facing alot of adversity at the moment and seeing you on friday will only help this team, school, and community feel alot better!!!! continue to get better BIG BURKES!!!!!!!!!!!! SEE YOU ON FRIDAY!!!!!

  • Rochelle Burkes (Brandon's Mom) said,

    First of all I want to Thank you Andy and Greensboro Sports for getting Brandon’s story out. Brandon is my miracle child and I never want anyone to forget Brandon or the impact he has had on Dudley Sports because Brandon he will be back , and I want to thank each and every person who made a phone call or came by to see about him and a special Thanks to the Coaching Staff from Dudley Football Team and each and every team member and also Coach Larry Farrer Dudley Baseball Team for really standing by us. It is times like this when you really know who your friends are, the family and friend support has been overwhelming. I just everyone to continue to pray for Brandon because he has a long road of recovery but he will be back. Also a special Thanks to the Grimsley Football Team for the Lovely Flowers that were sent to Brandon. God let Brandon get up and walk off that field for a reason and Brandon has a story to tell and I for one am going to listen.

  • Jay Brown said,

    Brandon will be back and he will prove to be a major Panther Player in many sports. He is one of the smartest and toughest Panthers that I have ever seen and I have seen a bunch and Burkes is the best. Watch for big things out of this kid.

    Big fan of Burkes

  • April Isley(Brandon's Aunt) said,

    I have watched u grow unto a very handsome young man. And just to think i changed your pampers!! LOL… I never say much,but, I love u Brandon!!And the answer to if u will return to the football field…well that’s between u and god!!!! Don’t forget that!!! There’s NEVER a dull day with u!!!If anyone truly knows YOU…then they would already know that!!!!