Nearly eight months ago, doctors told Matt Sercer he would never walk again.
On Saturday, the 20-year-old Plainfield farmer stepped off a helicopter on the intramural fields at Anderson University and met the media alongside Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne in one of the most memorable training camp entrances of recent times.
“Guys like Matt and stories like Matt, they’re the real heroes,” Wayne said, wearing an IU Health flight suit in front of the lifeline chopper he arrived in. “It inspires you to go out there and do great and prove people wrong. A lot of people didn’t think Matt would be able to walk again, and he’s out here moonwalking with me.”
While cleaning out an empty silage wagon in December, Sercer accidentally backed into an auger that tore off his right heel and nearly caused his leg to be amputated. He said he owes a great debt to the lifeline helicopter crew that carried him to help.
“I’d have been dead if it wasn’t for them,” Sercer said.
A friend brought Sercer’s story to Wayne’s attention, and tears pooled in Wayne’s eyes Saturday as he recounted it.
As a Louisiana native who has spent much of his adult life in south Florida, Wayne said he’s not familiar with farms. But he saw an important lesson for himself and his teammates in Sercer’s perseverance.
Last year, the Colts used a national power ranking that placed them last among the NFL’s 32 teams as motivation. This year, outside expectations for the team are higher.
But, as Wayne said, “there’s still not a lot of buzz” about Indianapolis.
“We got to prove people wrong, got to show them what we can do and show them what we made of,” he said.
“We got to bite down through hard times and find a way to prevail. Matt is truly an inspiration to that. I’m bringing him to camp with me to show everybody else what we can do.”
That’s not likely to be a hard sell.
Many of Wayne’s teammates reported to AU early Saturday morning. They promised a different look on offense, a more physical style on defense and a goal to become the best in the league.
“That’s the motivation every year,” offensive lineman Anthony Castonzo said. “At the end of the year, you want to say that we accomplished all of our goals, and the only way to do that is to win the Super Bowl.”
The path to New York City and Super Bowl XLVIII began Saturday with a closed walkthrough and a public practice.
The Colts will hold 15 open practices during camp, which ends Aug. 16.
This is the fourth straight summer in which Indianapolis has trained at Anderson University and the 19th time the school has hosted training camp overall. The Colts trained in Anderson from their arrival in Indiana in 1984 until 1998.
After 11 years in Terre Haute, the franchise returned to AU in 2010.
The team is celebrating its 30th season in Indiana this year, and Wayne believes it could be a very special year indeed.
In fact, that was part of the inspiration for his grand entrance.
“I really think our team this year is better than last year,” he said.
“If we don’t hurt ourselves, the sky’s the limit for us. I really sat back and thought, ‘sky’s the limit, sky’s the limit,’ why not come in through the sky?”
Longtime Colts receiver hops ride on IU Health chopper, brings a friend
Nearly eight months ago, doctors told Matt Sercer he would never walk again.
- Kulp is new Goshen softball coach Brent Kulp was hired as the new Goshen High School softball coach at Monday night’s school board meeting. He was a physical education and health teacher in the Baugo Community Schools for 18 years and head softball coach at Jimtown High School for 15 seasons. Under his direction, Jimtown earned five Northern State Conference championships, five sectional titles and two regional titles and his teams compiled an overall record of 285-133-1.
- GOLF: Strong front nine leads Toner to Goshen City Championship Sugg hed: Toner cruises to City Championship victory GOSHEN — Through the first eight holes, Scott Toner dominated the competition at the Goshen Men’s City Golf Championship at Black Squirrel Golf Club. He was already two-under, and had already gaine
- Greg Maddux, Big Hurt inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Frank Thomas choked back tears, Joe Torre apologized for leaving people out of his speech and Tony La Russa said he felt uneasy. Being enshrined in the Hall of Fame can have those effects, even on the greats. Thomas, pitchers Tom
- NASCAR: Gordon wins his fifth Brickyard 400 INDIANAPOLIS — With a fifth Brickyard 400 victory on the line Sunday, Jeff Gordon looked like the driver he was 20 years ago. Gordon nailed the final restart of the race — no given because restarts have been Gordon's Achilles heel — to pass Hendrick
- Langer wins Senior British Open by record 13 shots BRIDGEND, Wales — Bernhard Langer won his second Senior British Open championship on Sunday, finishing a record 13 strokes clear of Colin Montgomerie of Scotland. The German added a closing 4-under 67 Sunday at sunny Royal Porthcawl to his earlier r
- Miller takes lead after 18 holes at City Championship GOSHEN — The rumors started flying around in the mid-afternoon that Scott Toner’s 74 might not be the best score Saturday at the first round of the Goshen Men’s City Golf Championship at Black Squirrel Golf Club.Word spread that apparently someone ha
- KEIM'S KORNER: Memories of the Elkhart County 4-H Fair meaningful It’s finished.By the time you are reading this column, the 2014 version of the Elkhart County 4-H Fair will have concluded with yet another successful nine-day run.The fair is an economic boom for the area as more than 200,000 people attend what is g
- Nibali set to win Tour, with 2 Frenchmen on podium PERIGUEUX, France — Finally cracking broad smiles after weeks of no-nonsense racing, Vincenzo Nibali confirmed he will win the Tour de France after another impressive ride in a dramatic penultimate stage on Saturday. Nibali all but ensured he will be crowned Tour champion for the first time thanks to winning the last mountain stage on Thursday. But a desire to leave nothing to chance, even with the biggest overall lead in 17 years, saw him push himself in the individual time trial for fourth place behind winner and German speedster Tony Martin. In doing so, the rider they call "The Shark" padded his overall lead on Stage 20 by more than 40 seconds to nearly eight minutes.|PERIGUEUX, France — Finally cracking broad smiles after weeks of no-nonsense racing, Vincenzo Nibali confirmed he will win the Tour de France after another impressive ride in a dramatic penultimate stage on Saturday.Nibali all but ensured he will be
- Langer takes 8-shot lead at Senior British Open BRIDGEND, Wales — Bernhard Langer stretched his lead to eight strokes Saturday in the Senior British Open, shooting a 3-under 68 at Royal Porthcawl to reach 14-under 199. The 56-year-old German matched the Champions Tour record for the largest 54-hole lead in a 72-hole event set by Jack Nicklaus in the 1991 Senior PGA. At 14 under, Langer also tied the tournament 54-hole record set by Carl Mason at 14-under 196 in 2003 at Turnberry. After opening with rounds of 65 and 66 to open a seven-stroke lead, Langer had four birdies and a bogey in the round. He settled for a birdie on the par-5 18th after missing an eagle chance from 10 feet. He dropped his only shot on the par-4 10th.|BRIDGEND, Wales — Bernhard Langer stretched his lead to eight strokes Saturday in the Senior British Open, shooting a 3-under 68 at Royal Porthcawl to reach 14-under 199.The 56-year-old German matched the Champions Tour record for the largest 54-hole
- Harvick grabs yet another pole with big run at IMS INDIANAPOLIS — The season-long rivalry between Hendrick Motorsports and Team Penske heads into the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where Kevin Harvick will try to crash their party. Harvick, Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselowski swept the top three spots in qualifying, setting up what could be a showdown between the most dominant teams so far this season.
- More Sports Headlines