Gladiator Brandon Souder receives a warm reception upon returning home

Image: Kaitlyn Rossa and Emily Stiles showed Brandon Souder some love as he returned home from the hospital.

Kaitlyn Rossa and Emily Stiles showed Brandon Souder some love as he returned home from the hospital. (Barry Byers)

This is our town:

Italy Gladiator senior center, Brandon Souder(63), severely injured his leg during the first quarter of Italy’s opening preseason game against Maypearl last Friday night. After being hospitalized over the weekend, Brandon returned home and received a personal escort from the Italy Volunteer Fire Department as he and his family made their way down the crowded street to their house which was lined with well wishers holding signs of support.

An emotional Brandon was immediately greeted by friends and family members as he exited his vehicle. After being helped to the front porch of his home by his father, Mark Souder, Sr., and teammate, Omar Estrada, Brandon sat down as others took a moment to welcome him home.

After Brandon’s classmates, teammates and friends surrounding him, the group then tightened up and delivered a, “1, 2, 3, Italy Family,” cheer in his honor. Brandon then made his way into the living room and rested in a recliner as he told his tale of the events as they had occurred after the final snap of his high school career. Still shaking from the after effects of the pain medication he had received in the hospital, Brandon thanked his teammates for winning the game.

Brandon’s parents, Mark and Kristi, showed the remaining guests the x-rays taken of Brandon’s leg before everyone told Brandon one last goodbye so he could relax.

We all wish Brandon a speedy recovery and everyone can expect to see Brandon competing on behalf of the Gladiators very soon. Brandon later commented, “This won’t keep me down.”

The Gladiators must continue to forge ahead without Brandon and teammate, Zack Boykin, who has been on the injured reserved list since two-a-days. The Gladiators take on the Mart Panthers tonight in Mart starting at 7:30 p.m. Mart boasts a 13-2 record from last season and were 1A state champions to claim the school’s 5th state title. The Gladiators will be able to use this game as a measuring stick to see just how much they have improved from last season. 

Get well soon, Brandon!