GRAND BLANC, MI – Elijah Jackson-Anderson was on his way to Grand Blanc’s football game vs. Davison two weeks ago when his world was turned upside down.
Literally, upside down.
Jackson-Anderson was thinking about the usual pre-game stuff all players ponder when a driver next to him on I-475 decided to switch lanes. That forced Jackson-Anderson to swerve left to avoid a collision but he hit the cement median separating the north and south lanes and his 2004 Saturn slid 30 feet upside down before stopping in the middle of the highway.
“It happened so quick I didn’t have any time to think,” Jackson-Anderson said. “After it happened, it was just crazy. There were people behind me so as soon as I stopped, people basically got out (to help). It happened out of nowhere. Everybody was surprised
“I’m just thankful to God. I’m blessed.”
That’s because the accident could have been a lot worse.
Jackson-Anderson didn’t need assistance to get out of the car, which was laying on its roof in the middle of the highway, and the only injury he suffered was a cut on his left forearm that required 15 stitches.
He was taken to a local hospital to be patched up and made it to Davison in time for the opening kickoff of the Bobcats’ 46-21 loss to the defending Division 1 state champion.
Jackson-Anderson not only suited up, he actually scored on a 24-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
Grand Blanc coach Clint Alexander originally wasn’t sure Jackson-Anderson should play vs. the Cardinals. Yet when the game started, there was Jackson-Anderson on the sideline despite not taking part in warmups.
“I talked to his doctors, talked to him, talked to his dad,” Alexander said. “We pulled him out of a bunch of stuff, limited his role. But, of course, he was itching to go in the biggest game of the year.
“And he wants to get to college. You’ve got to get good film against good people so he made some really good plays against those guys, did what he needed to do.
“What’s great is he’s a better kid than a player and he’s an unbelievable player. He is the best teammate. He’s a junior captain and I’ve had five of those in 25 years.”
Alexander had already arrived at the field where Grand Blanc was holding its pregame workout when he got word about Jackson-Anderson’s accident. That led to some scary moments before the Bobcats found out their teammate was OK.
“From when I found out (about the accident) to finding out it wasn’t death or anything, it was about 20 minutes,” Alexander said. “The kids knew before I did, the way they communicate. Everybody was in shock.
“Then we found out he had left with an EMT, not the ambulance, and he was better than we thought.”
The car ended up taking the worst of the accident as it was totaled.
Jackson-Anderson has since had his stitches removed although he continues to wear a wrap to protect the tender skin that is turning into a scar.
He was back on the field last week vs. Lapeer, scoring another TD as the Bobcats recorded their biggest victory of the season by beating the two-time defending Saginaw Valley South champion 34-16 on the road.
The Bobcats will attempt to raise their record to 3-1 Friday, when they host Saginaw Arthur Hill.
But regardless of the outcome vs. Arthur Hill, this week has already been a good one for the 5-foot-10, 180-pound Jackson-Anderson, who received his first college offer from Central Michigan University.
He doesn’t know what position the Chippewas have in mind for him – Jackson-Anderson plays tailback, slot receiver and defensive back in addition to special teams – but Alexander said the CMU coaches like him on both sides of the ball.
What’s the one thing the Chippewas like most about Jackson-Anderson?
“My toughness,” he said.
Big surprise, eh?
As for the accident, Jackson-Anderson was obviously fortunate things didn’t turn out worse. But that doesn’t mean he feels lucky to have escaped with a few bumps and bruises as well as the cut on his arm.
“Not lucky,” he said. “Blessed.”
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