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Amputee Gets Clearance to Resume Playing Career

September 12, 2003|Thomas Bonk

Neil Parry, the San Jose State football player whose right foot and part of his right leg were amputated after he was severely injured in a game three years ago, was cleared Thursday to take the field and play again next week.

"Based on his four weeks of practice, Neil has earned a spot on our special teams as a member of the punt return team," Coach Fitz Hill said.

It appears as though Parry will remain a member of the special teams for the rest of the season.

"The kid worked his butt off," Parry's father, Nick, said. "I've never been happier in my life.

"It's his dream come true."

After insurance questions were answered and Parry, 23, was fitted with a special prosthesis, he was made available to play on special teams for the Spartans in their Thursday night game in San Jose against Nevada.

Parry's leg was amputated about 10 inches below the knee about two weeks after a teammate was knocked into him and rolled into the back of his leg Oct. 14, 2000, in a game against Texas El Paso.

Parry, who was a walk-on sophomore, suffered a compound fracture of two bones in his leg. An artery and nerve also were severed and an infection made amputation necessary.

A month later, Parry returned to Spartan Stadium in a wheelchair and watched San Jose State defeat Texas Christian. His teammates awarded Parry the game ball.

Parry had vowed to play again and President Clinton praised his courage after visiting Parry on the practice field soon after the amputation.

-- Thomas Bonk

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