Once a Shriners patient, Louisville lineman now in Shrine Game
One of the key events in the week leading up to Saturday's East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field was Sunday's visit to Shriners Hospital for Children in Tampa, connecting players to the patients this game helps support.
For Louisville offensive lineman Tobijah Hughley, it meant something more, because he might not have been able to play college football -- let alone Saturday's showcase game -- were it not for the Shriners Hospital for Children in his hometown of Lexington, Ky.
Hughley, a former walk-on at Louisville who became a three-year starter for the Cardinals, suffered a dislocated hip playing football in middle school, and the injury required a surgery and rehabilitation at the Shriners hospital.
"We went into Shriners -- just a huge, awesome facility, and the doctors there were great," Hughley said after a practice this week. "I was out of football for like 6-8 months, but I've been playing football ever since. It's a miraculous healing story, and it's a great testament to what Shriners does for kids all over the country. They said I'd walk again but it could be dangerous playing football. I did a lot of treatment as a child to try to get back to this game, and I'm glad it worked out."
Hughley, working with the West team, is one of two Louisville players in Saturday's game -- he actually could wind up going up against nose guard DeAngelo Brown, who is playing for the East team. Organizers sometimes must put players outside their school's natural geography to even out the depth between the two squads.
"It's amazing," he said. "There's a lot of great talent here and a lot of teams here from the NFL and CFL scouting, so it's been great to show them what I can do."