Trevor Roberts wore a broad smile Friday through much of McLouth High School’s homecoming game but admitted he was masking other emotions.
“No tears,” the senior said. “But it was rough when the crowd stood for me. It meant a lot.”
The 17-year-old Roberts said a night of mixed emotions started as he received the first of three standing ovations when his guardian Jerrad Humerickhouse wheeled him in front of packed bleachers about 20 minutes before the start of the game.
“It’s great to be back here,” he said. “But I’d like to be on the field.”
It was the 17-year-old Roberts’ first appearance in McLouth since surgeons at Kansas University Hospital amputated his gangrene-infected left leg above the knee on Sept. 30. Roberts suffered a compound fracture in that leg during a Sept. 24 football game.
Humerickhouse, who admitted he, too, fought back tears when the crowd rose to applaud Roberts, said Friday’s greeting was a great tonic for the recovering teen.
Released Friday from the hospital, Roberts said he wanted to get back in school and move on. He would draw strength in that from the support he received Friday from the McLouth community, he said.
McLouth High School Principal Mike Bogard said Roberts’ courage since the amputation taught him that everyone has reserves of unexpected strength. Roberts’ example and the community backing he received helped make homecoming, always a highlight of the school year, a positive experience despite Roberts’ ordeal.
“Sometimes, it takes a something like this to make us appreciate each other more and give us the opportunity to see the good in everybody else,” he said.
In what was surely the most anticlimactic homecoming crowning in McLouth’s history, Roberts was crowned 2010 homecoming king at halftime of the school’s game against Horton.
Roberts’ girlfriend, junior Kelsey Campbell, said before the game she was confident that the entire student body, including the two other homecoming king candidates Shane Cassatt and Derek Wright, were pulling for him to wear the crown.
“I think they would feel bad if they got it,” she said.