ROGERSVILLE, TN (WJHL) – This Friday, one Tri-Cities community will have an emotional homecoming they’ve been looking forward to for months.
Cherokee High School football player JT Brooks has been at a hospital in Atlanta since May. He suffered a severe spinal cord injury while playing football that paralyzed him from the chest down.
The story of JT has spread from Rogersville, gaining national attention through social media with the hashtag “#Fightfor5“. Celebrities from Peyton Manning to Robert Duvall have expressed their support for JT, whose football jersey is number 5.
This Friday, JT will return home to Rogersville, just for the weekend, to be on the field once again with his teammates for the first home game of the season.
Last Friday, instead of leading his team in their first game of the season, JT posted this note on social media from his hospital room, forwarding it on to his coach before the game:
“We had an emotional moment before the game last Friday from a little speech that JT had sent us. That was my pregame speech,” Cherokee High School head football coach Cody Baugh said. “It was tough to get through.”
But this week, his coach won’t have to relay a message from JT, because JT will be there on the sidelines cheering on his boys.
“There’s going be a lot of tears and a lot of smiles going on at Cherokee High School,” family friend Shona House said.
The crowd is asked to wear “Fight For 5” shirts to the game. Anthony Bledsoe, owner of Rocky Top Printing, printed the shirts and said they’ve sold at least 4,000 of them so far.
“JT is a beloved kid, we all love him,” Bledsoe said. And for the first time since the accident, he will be back in his hometown.
“Every body’s excited to death to have JT come back home,” House said.
“He was a captain before he got hurt and will honor him as a captain Friday and he’ll be right there with us,” Baugh said.
“They’re going to want to win this game for JT,” House said.
Baugh said JT’s teammates are still driven by their quarterback. “They could’ve went the wrong way with this whole thing but they have definitely used it as motivation and there’s not a day that goes by that we don’t hear a breakdown or something that ends with fight for five,” Baugh said.
House said JT and his family are coming straight from Atlanta on Friday to his home stadium where Cherokee High School plays Sullivan Central at 7:30 p.m.
For links to shirts, and more information about JT’s story you can visit Thefightfor5.comCopyright 2016 WJHL. All Rights Reserved.