By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter
The Fort Thomas Junior Football League wrapped up its season Monday with the annual 8th Grade Appreciation Game.
The White team, composed of players from the Red and Gold teams, defeated the Blue team, composed of players from the Blue and Green teams, 14-6. The eighth graders move onto Highlands High School next year as Freshmen. Many of the players had been involved in the league since the third grade.
But in another act of kindness toward Clay Frink, the proceeds from the game went to help him in his recovery from an accident in the summer. A sport utility vehicle hit Frink at the intersection of Highland and South Fort Thomas Avenues, said Lieutenant Rich Whitford of the Fort Thomas Police Department to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
“It really is a wonderful community,” said Dale Mueller, Highlands Director of Athletics. “If there is anything going on, the community rallies around it. I don’t know there’s another community you can find like this. You don’t necessarily have to know somebody, but if something is going on, people are for it. I’m really proud to be a part of it.”
Frink stayed for the game. He’s been doing everything in his power to recover. Doctors recently released him to go home.
“It’s been good to know that everyone is supporting me,” Frink said. “It’s been good to know I’m doing a good thing because other people are coming to church I think because of me.”
Frink said he’s been talking to God during the whole ordeal. He attends Crossroads Church in eastern Cincinnati.
“God is good. I’m getting better every day,” Frink said. “I have a good relationship with God. I was not conscious (during the recovery). But I was conscious with God because I was still praying to him. I just felt his hand on my back helping me get there.”
Frink’s dad Neal said he felt the power not only of those prayers, but also of those in the community. Neal Frink served as a volunteer assistant on the Highlands soccer team this past fall.
“It’s amazing,” Neal Frink said. “We feel so blessed and fortunate that he’s made the recovery that he has so far. Things could have turned out much different. There’s still a long way to go with his recovery. But the progress he makes every week inspires me the same way it inspires other people just to see him continuing to put in the work to get better day by day, week by week.”
Neal Frink said one area of improvement is his speech. People can continue to see updates on Facebook on a page called, “Pray for Clay.”
“He doesn’t always find words as quickly as he’d like to,” Neal Frink said. “But he’s improving all the time.”
Clay Frink said he probably will not be able to return to soccer this year or the spring. But he hopes to be out there at Tower Park in the fall.