/notables/2003/ratliff-recovering-slowly

Ratliff recovering slowly

By Pat Coleman,
D3football.com

Shay Ratliff, Jordan Neal
Jordan Neal talks with Shay Ratliff on the sidelines of HSU's recent win against Howard Payne.
Photo by Pat Coleman, D3football.com

ABILENE, Texas – Four weeks ago, Hardin-Simmons slotback Shay Ratliff was fighting for his life. The junior, who had just transferred from Abilene Christian when the season started, had headaches after a game at UW-Stout, later learning he'd suffered a brain hemorrhage. Although Ratliff is on the road to recovery, playing football again is a risk and a longshot.

Ratliff appears steady enough on his feet. He speaks deliberately; you can almost see him forming sentences piece by piece in his mind. But he's more than coherent enough to hold his own, as he stands in street clothes on the Cowboys' sideline.

"It"s tough to watch when you want to contribute," said Ratliff, who had eight catches for 81 yards in his one game. "I can"t do much but yell – that"s why I"m so hoarse."

Ratliff had all eight of those catches in the season opener at UW-Stout, one less catch than he had all of last season at ACU.

His teammates wear Ratliff's number, 3, on the back of their helmets. "That really means a lot to me," Ratliff said. "It's a great thing that they can make you feel like such a part of the family in such a short time. I'm just as much of a Cowboy as they make me feel."

Ratliff's injury wasn't discovered until a couple of days after the game, when what seemed like getting his bell rung turned more serious. "I lost my (ability to speak) for about a week and a half," he said. "With my equilibrium, I"m still not able to do much.

"It's humbling for sure. I'm just trying to get better."

Ratliff, who studies scripture regularly, finds his reading comprehension has yet to return, although he can quote his favorite passage from Jeremiah from memory. His struggles have forced him to drop out of school for the time being, but he takes it all in stride. "I couldn't have asked for the Lord to bless me any better way."

"There's a chemistry here I can't describe, and I think nobody could. It's not all about winning football games, it's about relationships. It's about fighting for your brother next to you."

Ratliff is in the beginning stages of a four-month rehab, where he not only has to regain his balance, but learn to comprehend what he reads. It's a long road to get anywhere, let alone off the sidelines.

"I dream of playing again, but I'm thankful of being alive."

Aug. 31: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Moravian at King's
7:00 PM
Methodist at Campbell
7:00 PM
Alfred State at Coast Guard
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Allegheny at Thiel
7:00 PM
Stevenson at Frostburg State
7:00 PM
Wesley at Delaware Valley
7:00 PM
Mayville St. at Buena Vista
7:30 PM
Manchester at Trine
Video Live Stats
8:00 PM
McMurry at Okla. Panhandle
8:00 PM
Millsaps at Belhaven
8:00 PM
Greenville at Millikin
Sep. 1: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Salisbury at Albright
7:00 PM
Mount Ida at Mass-Dartmouth
7:00 PM
Fitchburg State at Curry
7:00 PM
Johns Hopkins at Washington and Lee
Live Stats
7:00 PM
FDU-Florham at TCNJ
7:00 PM
MIT at Becker
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Westfield State at Nichols
7:30 PM
Anna Maria at WPI
Video Live Stats
7:30 PM
Gettysburg at Bridgewater
Sep. 2: All times Eastern
TBA
Wilkes at Muhlenberg
TBA
Birmingham-Southern at LaGrange
TBA
St. Norbert at UW-Stevens Point
TBA
Knox at Eureka
12:00 PM
Grove City at Juniata
12:00 PM
Framingham State at Endicott
Video Live Stats
12:00 PM
Worcester State at Salve Regina
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Maine Maritime at SUNY-Maritime
12:00 PM
Norwich at Morrisville State
12:00 PM
Bethany at Ursinus
12:00 PM
Brockport at Hobart
12:00 PM
Augustana at Cortland
12:00 PM
Bridgewater State at Buffalo State
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Carnegie Mellon at Washington U.
Video Live Stats Live Stats
12:30 PM
N.C. Wesleyan at Mount Union
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Kalamazoo at Oberlin
1:00 PM
Catholic at McDaniel
1:00 PM
Heidelberg at Olivet
1:00 PM
Franklin and Marshall at Lebanon Valley
1:00 PM
Alma at St. Vincent
1:00 PM
Castleton at Plymouth State
1:00 PM
Lycoming at Susquehanna
1:00 PM
UW-Oshkosh at John Carroll
1:00 PM
Alfred at Ithaca
1:00 PM
Misericordia at Merchant Marine
1:00 PM
Albion at Wabash
Video Live Stats
1:00 PM
Dickinson at Randolph-Macon
1:00 PM
Bluffton at Wooster
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Union at Husson
Video Live Stats
1:00 PM
Springfield at Western New England
1:00 PM
Wittenberg at Westminster (Pa.)
1:00 PM
St. John Fisher at Washington and Jefferson
1:00 PM
Ferrum at Emory and Henry
1:00 PM
Averett at Hampden-Sydney
1:00 PM
Berry at Maryville (Tenn.)
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Waynesburg at Muskingum
Live Stats
1:00 PM
William Paterson at RPI
1:00 PM
Case Western Reserve at Chicago
Video Live Stats
1:00 PM
Kenyon at Sewanee
1:30 PM
Franklin at Thomas More
Live Stats
1:30 PM
Centre at Hanover
1:30 PM
Mount St. Joseph at Capital
1:30 PM
Baldwin Wallace at Defiance
1:30 PM
Earlham at Wilmington
2:00 PM
Carthage at Aurora
2:00 PM
Hope at Monmouth
2:00 PM
Guilford at Huntingdon
2:00 PM
UW-Stout at Simpson
2:00 PM
Concordia-Moorhead at Nebraska Wesleyan
2:00 PM
Rockford at MacMurray
2:00 PM
Finlandia at Concordia (Wis.)
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
St. Scholastica at St. John's
2:00 PM
Dubuque at Bethel
2:00 PM
Westminster (Mo.) at Gustavus Adolphus
2:00 PM
Macalester at Carleton
2:00 PM
Grinnell at St. Olaf
2:00 PM
Hamline at Crown
2:00 PM
UW-Whitewater at Illinois Wesleyan
2:00 PM
Whitworth at Central
2:00 PM
Coe at UW-River Falls
2:00 PM
Loras at Elmhurst
2:00 PM
Concordia-Chicago at Ripon
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
Presentation at Lawrence
2:00 PM
George Fox at UW-Platteville
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Lake Forest at Beloit
2:10 PM
UW-Eau Claire at St. Thomas
3:00 PM
Austin at Bacone
4:00 PM
Puget Sound at La Verne
6:00 PM
Ohio Northern at Adrian
Live Stats Audio
7:00 PM
Christopher Newport at Southern Virginia
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Brevard at Davidson
7:00 PM
Gallaudet at Shenandoah
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Otterbein at Ohio Wesleyan
7:00 PM
Marietta at Geneva
7:00 PM
Widener at Rowan
7:00 PM
St. Lawrence at Utica
7:00 PM
Southwestern at Denison
7:00 PM
Martin Luther at Minnesota-Morris
7:00 PM
Carroll at Lakeland
7:00 PM
Rose-Hulman at Illinois College
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Trinity Int'l at Wisconsin Lutheran
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Sul Ross State at Texas-Permian Basin
7:00 PM
Luther at UW-La Crosse
7:00 PM
Wayland Baptist at Louisiana College
8:00 PM
Northwestern (Minn.) at Augsburg
8:00 PM
Iowa Wesleyan at Cornell
8:00 PM
Robert Morris-Chicago at North Central (Ill.)
8:00 PM
Wheaton (Ill.) at Benedictine
8:00 PM
Lyon at Hendrix
8:00 PM
Howard Payne at Southwestern Assemblies
10:00 PM
Trinity (Texas) at Redlands
10:00 PM
Rhodes at Willamette
Live Stats
Sep. 3: All times Eastern
2:00 PM
Dickinson at Lebanon Valley
Maintenance in progress.