Holly Pond head football coach Mark Smothers said one of his senior players who suffered a severe neck injury earlier this week made it through a six-hour surgery well Wednesday afternoon at Children's Hospital in Birmingham and received good news regarding his spinal cord.

Bruce Shaw suffered a cracked fifth vertebra in his neck Monday afternoon after an awkward tackle during practice that left him numb all over his body, according to teammates who talked to him right after it happened.

"We got word today toward the end of practice that Bruce was operated on and everything went fine during the surgery," Smothers said. "The best news was they found that his spinal cord was still in tact, and the bone was just compressing it.

"They were able to correct that today."

Smothers said Shaw still has a long road to recovery from this point.

"We are still prayerfully hoping for a full comeback from this injury, which we are sure Bruce is motivated to do," Smothers said. "He's still in intensive care as of right now, and he will probably be there for a few days."

Smothers said Shaw's halo was removed after the procedure.

"They told us they inserted a screw into Bruce's sternum that is stabilizing everything right now," Smothers said. "Because of where the crack was, they had to go in through the front of the throat and then go around and do some work on the back of the neck."

Smothers said the news provided a positive ending to practice Wednesday afternoon.

"All of the guys are really excited to hear the good news," Smothers said. "Our hopes are much higher now that we've heard that everything went all right today."

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