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Number 94: Cedar Ridge Football's 12th Man

A Cedar Ridge HS junior hasn't played football player hasn't played football in three years-- but he's not letting an injury keep him sidelined. (PHOTO: CBS Austin)

Sometimes, the most inspirational players are the ones who have never actually played a down. At 7-1, the Cedar Ridge High School football team is well on its way to another district title. But as the Raiders suit up for another week, there's nobody who wants to be back in that uniform more than Patrick Messer.

A Cedar Ridge junior, Messer hasn't played football in more than three years, but he still continues to enjoy the game by playing vicariously through his teammates.

“He’s always wanted to be on the football field again,” said Tre Gonzalez, also a Cedar Ridge junior.

“Football was everything to him way back when,” added Dylan McDaniel, another Cedar Ridge junior.

And it still is, but three years ago Patrick had the game taken from him after an accident.

“On June 28th in 2014, I dove into a pool," said Messer. "I became paralyzed and shattered my C5 incomplete.” Left with no movement in his legs and limited use of his hands and upper body after the accident, Patrick was also left with a choice.

“Yeah it is difficult but I mean, but you know there’s nothing I can do so I just gotta move past it.”

He chose positivity to power past hardship. Messer now stays close to the game he loves through the Cedar Ridge football team, where you can see him on the sideline cheering on teammates he once played alongside.

“It means everything to me honestly because without it I feel like I would be in a different state of mind. It gives me my happiness and my strength that I need,” said Messer.

“He’s just a great, I would say, role model, in life because he’s handled this situation better than I think anyone really could because he’s just pushed through it. He’s always happy, he’s always got a smile on his face and I mean it really helps the team," said Gonzalez.

Growing up, Patrick wore number 94. So the team surprised him with a Cedar Ridge 94 jersey-- one you can see him rocking here on Friday nights.

“It gave me this feeling that I haven’t felt and I felt good wearing it," said Messer. "A lot of my friends who know about the number, I’m sure they probably got excited about seeing that too.”

“When he puts on a jersey it just feels like it’s all coming back and he can look back to those days and love the game still," said McDaniel.

And no matter what happens the rest of the season, there will always be a spot for Patrick on the Cedar Ridge sideline.

“He’s definitely a part of the team and that’s something that can’t get taken away from us,” said McDaniel.

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