BROWNSBURG, Ind. – This time last year, Tyrone Griffin was fighting a much greater opponent than any he'd faced on the football field. He was fighting for his life.
"To be honest, I thought that I was going to die,” Tyrone said.
The linebacker was a consistent playmaker for the Bulldogs early last season, but on the Saturday before the battle against one of their biggest rivals he experienced pain that brought him to tears.
"It felt like my head was caving in,” the Brownsburg senior explained. “I couldn't really describe like the thumping sounds that I felt in my head."
His mom rushed him to the hospital then he was taken by medical helicopter to a second, in search of answers.
"When I first saw him, he was full comatose; he was in a full coma,” Brownsburg head coach John Hart said. "They went through concussion, they went through aneurism. I think that was the prevailing thing, they thought he had an aneurism and was possibly going to die."
Doctors could only describe it as a mysterious virus, similar to bacterial meningitis that kept Tyrone in the hospital for two weeks.
"When I woke up all I could see was love and family,” Tryone explained. “On my phone, I was getting calls from my teammates, texts, and it really showed me who was there for me and how much of a support system I have."
And Tyrone stayed connected from the hospital, as his team prepared for that rivalry game against Avon.
"We have this app called ‘Huddle’ that we watch our plays on to study and stuff and I was looking at that making sure that if I did have an opportunity, I’d be ready."
Tyrone made it back by the end of the season, but not at full strength. This year, his senior year, he’s ready for the rivalry and isn't taking anything for granted.
"This gives me a lot of perspective just having an opportunity to play football...make sure there's no opportunity wasted because you never know when the opportunity might be taken from you."
Tyrone also serves as an athletic ambassador at Brownsburg, mentoring elementary students and sharing his story in the community.
He is also committed to continuing his football career next fall at Indiana State University.