SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: The comeback kid

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Marcus Wright defies the odds by playing football after car wreck

By John Overby

It was late on a Friday night.


It had been raining, and Marcus Wright was driving—along with two passengers—north on Bloomfield Road, about two miles outside of Springfield.

According to a Washington County Sheriff Department’s police report, Wright’s 2001 Chevrolet Malibu entered a curve and dropped off the shoulder into a ditch. The vehicle traveled 97 feet in the ditch, where the driver was unable to recover. The car reportedly then flipped over four times before landing on its roof against fencing for a nearby farm.

The vehicle traveled 218.5 feet before coming to a stop.

More than a year later, that would all be news to Wright. He still doesn’t recall what happened that night.

“I know I hydroplaned on Bloomfield Road, but after that, I don’t remember anything,” Wright said. “I was told that I got ejected from the car. The first thing I remember is yelling at the [University of Louisville] hospital. I didn’t know what was going on. I remember my mom and dad (Laura and Charles Wright) were over top of me, trying to calm me down.”

Wright would be at Louisville’s hospital for seven days before returning home. He had two collapsed lungs, a fractured pelvis and two fractured ribs.

Playing football, something he had done for the past three seasons at Washington County High School, was the furthest thing from his mind.

“I thought I was done playing sports after that,” Wright said. “I didn’t think I’d play again.”

Wright’s car wreck occurred in May, only a few months before his senior year officially began.

With football not really ramping up until August, and with Wright gradually returning to his old self, he began to get that familiar itch, the one that only football could scratch.

“Once I realized I wanted to come back, I just had a mindset that I knew I could get through it,” Wright said. “Everything is possible if you put your mind to it. That was my mentality. I tried to move, even when I was in my walker. I started running when I got back on my legs. I wanted to finish up the season with my teammates.”

Wright had started playing football in middle school but didn’t take to it immediately. He tried again as a freshman, and after a year of getting naturally stronger and faster, Wright found that the game came more easily to him.

But coming back from the wreck put him back at square one.

“It was like starting all over again,” Wright said.

After missing the team’s first few games and running on the sidelines during practice, Wright’s body eventually stopped aching and allowed him to take part in the contact portions of practice.

Getting tackled for the first time would be one of the final obstacles in his way of getting back into game action.

“When I got hit for the first time, it kind of felt normal, like I hadn’t even missed anything,” Wright said. “I knew I could do everything else everybody else could without pain. It made me feel accomplished, proud.”

Wright got his first playing time in the fourth game of his senior season, but it wasn’t until the final regular-season game—a matchup against Marion County, WC’s bitter rivals—that he felt like the Marcus of old.

“I had a lot of adrenaline that I was feeding off of that game,” Wright said. “I really wanted to beat them. We all did. I just had the mentality that every ball that was thrown my way, I was going to catch it.”

That was no more clearer than on a second-half long bomb by senior quarterback Ty’Lyn Byas. Wright, after utilizing his 4.7 40-yard-dash speed to get down the field, used his 6-feet-4-inch frame to reach out and snatch the ball from a Marion defender. WC scored on its next possession to cut the game to one possession.

“After taking the ball from someone and catching it, it made me feel a lot better,” Wright said. “It made me wish I had never gotten hurt.”

With the class of 2014’s graduation this past week, Wright’s time at WCHS is now finished.

His postgraduation plans are to find a job in a distillery.

“It’s something a lot of my family members have done in the past,” Wright said. “It’s something I think I would be good at.”