Arkansas High School Football Player OK After Being Airlifted Off Field Following Big Hit

COAL HILL (KFSM) -- A Johnson County West High School football player is doing well after a hit during a game Friday night (Sept. 28) that resulted in him being airlifted to a hospital.

Peyton Estep, 16, both a linebacker and running back, said he was going to tackle a player from Hector who had just intercepted the ball when he was hit from the side by a defensive lineman.

The hit left Estep down and was eventually taken to a nearby ambulance for observation.

About halfway through the game, a medical helicopter landed mid-field to transport Estep to Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock.

Estep was discharged the next day.

He said he doesn't remember much, other than bits and pieces of the helicopter ride and his arrival at the hospital.

His mother, Michelle Nichols, on the other hand, remembers it all too well.

"Just please let my babies be okay," Nichols recalled thinking. "Because I had no idea what was going on. No matter how old they are, they're still your babies."

Estep said he holds no animosity towards the player that left him injured and out for the rest of the season.

"They apologized and it's all good," Estep said. "It happens. I told them not to worry about it."

J.C. West defensive coordinator Shaun Bailey called the hit a clean play.

"Seemed like a legal, good hit, and the kid was just playing hard, and those kinds of things happen," Bailey said. "It didn't appear to be a brutal hit."

Estep called his outcome a blessing, after a high school football player in Pike County, Georgia, about the same age as Estep, also took a significant hit during a game Friday night, but he didn't make it.

"That could've been me," Estep said. "That scares me, but it's football. It happens. Whenever you put that uniform on, you're taking a chance."