For many high school senior football players, the Thanksgiving Day game marks the end of their high school careers.
But for a captain on the Blackston-Millville/Hopedale team, he’s just thankful to be on the sideline with his teammates after walking back on the field after an unthinkable injury.
Brian Cerow remembered it was "the first defensive play of my senior year," when he went in for the tackle.
"I felt and heard that crack, it was the most terrifying, nervous moment of my life," said Cerow, "I just knew from that moment my life changed."
"He was walking and talking and he ran off the field after the injury, so it’s not like we thought he had a broken neck," BMR-Hopedale head coach Joshua Euglow said.
But standing on the sideline, Cerow’s mom Jennifer Convery almost instantly knew something was wrong.
"When I saw Brian standing there holding his neck and the look in his eyes, I knew something was really bad," Convery said.
After ambulance rides to two hospitals, the senior running back/linebacker learned he had broken his C1 vertebrae in his neck.
"Just that fear, that total fear of what’s going to happen from here?" Convery remembered.
What’s happened over the past few months is Cerow has remained part of this team, thankful to get his neck brace off last week, just before his 18th birthday.
And even though Cerow’s on the sidelines, his Coach Joshua Euglow says he’s been an inspiration to the other players.
"He’s come out on every single one of our coin tosses, so he’s always been there and it just shows what kind of person he is," Euglow said.
"I didn’t just break my neck and that was it, I’m still here, I’m still standing," Cerow said.
And while Cerow will likely never play football again, he hopes to be back on the field playing lacrosse in the spring.