The Virginia Cavaliers football program has been through hell and back. Just four months after four football players were shot, with three dying, running back Mike Hollins, who survived, is back on the gridiron.
“He was asking one of the football players about a video game,” said Gordon McKernan, a family friend of Hollins, to Sports Illustrated. “The guy answered, and at that moment, he pulled a gun and started shooting. The belief from those on board was that he was targeting football players.”
Hollins Was A Survivor In Mass Shooting On Virginia Campus That Killed Three
In a remarkable turn of events turn of events, Hollins, who was once on a ventilator fighting for his life has returned to the field in time for spring practice.
While, the other three teammates unfortunately didn’t survive, Hollins has fought his way back to do what he loves. He is the silver lining in this tragic and unfathomable situation that still leaves all affected perplexed and searching for answers.
Following the team’s first practice, Cavaliers head coach Tony Elliott spoke to reporters about Hollins and what it means to have him back out there again.
“Just to watch how he’s attacked everything, could easily have made excuses, easily have overthought things, but he’s taking it upon himself to respond and show perseverance and be resilient,” coach Tony Elliott said. “I think a lot of it is for himself, but the majority of it is for his teammates. There was a time where we didn’t know if he’d ever have a chance to play football again.”
“Just so happy for Mike, because we all know that as a football player that your time is going to come to an end. You definitely wouldn’t want it to come to an end in that fashion. So to see him to have another opportunity, just go out on his own terms, makes it really special.”
Hollins’ return to football activities is huge for a Cavaliers team in transition, as they look to replace quarterback Brennan Armstrong, who transferred to N.C. State.
While Elliott will bring Hollins along slowly, if the first spring practice was any indication, it won’t take long for him to get back to his former self.
Hollins’ Roommate Sings His Praises
The resolve Hollins has shown is definitely noticed by all his teammates, but especially by his roommate and backfield mate, Perris Jones, who told reporters this.
“Just the way he’s carried himself throughout this tragedy and how he continues to carry himself, it’s surreal,” Jones said. “He is a strong man, and his fight every day encourages all of us to continue to fight and do the best that we absolutely can because of he can do it, we can as well, so it’s definitely motivating.”
Elliott Wants His Guys To Move Forward, Not Move On
In an effort to honor fallen players, Lavel Davis Jr., Devin Chandler and D’Sean Perry, Elliott talked about them, while also letting his team know to be grateful for another opportunity to strap up the chinstrap again and get after it. Elliott also reiterated to not take that for granted. The second-year head coach then mentioned there will be many other opportunities to honor those fallen teammates throughout the season.
Finally, those unfortunate deaths will never be forgotten, their legacies will live forever in Hollins, all his UVA teammates and the surrounding Charlottesville community.
“We’re moving forward, not moving on.”
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