The Times West Virginian

Breaking News

Mickey Furfari

July 10, 2013

FURFARI COLUMN: Akers feels good, making much progress

MORGANTOWN — It certainly was wonderful to hear from Willie Akers last weekend that he feels good and has been showing daily improvement.

The former West Virginia University basketball star of the late 1950s was seriously injured last Feb. 13 in a damaging fall at the Charleston Civic Center Coliseum.

Watching his grandson play basketball, Akers tripped at the end of the playing floor, collapsed and fell on his face.

“If you’d seen me a couple of months ago, you wouldn’t have believed that I felt good,” said Akers, who has been in his Logan home for six weeks.

He had been hospitalized in the Shepherd Institute in Atlanta for 93 days of treatment.

“I was walking and started talking and tripped over the edge of the court, an inch-and-a-half high or so, (and) apparently I fell backward face down,” he said of his terrible misfortune.

It was a week to 10 days before he was conscious of what had happened to him.

He fractured six vertebrae which had to be repaired in West Virginia, and then an ambulance transported him to Atlanta for his lengthy spell of hospitalization there.

Willie’s wonderful wife Linda has been at his side constantly since the mishap.

Happily in his home now, the Mullens native is walking in a walker with a couple of wheels, and he’s walking with a cane and props.

“I am making a lot of progress,” Akers said. “But my right thigh and my right leg are still paralyzed.

“I’m also affected by my right shoulder and hand, but they’re improving quite a bit.”

Akers said he has been told by doctors that “it’s a 50-50 chance that I probably won’t be able to walk.”

He believes he’s past that now, however, and would love to prove that projection wrong.

Akers is grateful that people at WVU “have been wonderful” during his rehab efforts.

“President (Jim) Clements sent me flowers and talked to me. (Basketball coach) Bobby Huggins has sent me gear to work out at home, and (athletic director) Oliver Luck came to Atlanta and had lunch with me and a visit,” he noted.

“So I’m feeling good, and I’m sitting here in a chair talking to you.”

Jerry West, Willie’s best friend and fellow Hall of Famer, and he have been in close contact since his fall.

The Akers family also is appreciative of so many of the “get-well” messages he has received.

1
Text Only
Mickey Furfari
  • FURFARI COLUMN: Dr. Graber disagrees with Gee’s stance on Turnbull firing

    Dr. Stephen Graber, an associate professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, is among the latest WVU teachers to deplore Oliver Luck’s firing of veteran wrestling coach Craig Turnbull.
    He raised some significant questions about that issue last Monday in a meeting of the WVU Faculty Senate.

    April 18, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Comparing pay of coaches and professors

    Stringing together some odds and ends which may be of interest to you:
    • A beautiful lady came up to my table last Sunday at brunch in the Village of Heritage Point’s main dining room with a message.

    April 17, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN- Most plays good, some not so good in Gold-Blue scrimmage

    There appeared to be a fine mixture of plays, most good with some not so good, in last Saturday’s West Virginia University’s Gold-Blue football scrimmage.

    April 15, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Blaney wins 100th Sprint Car race

    Stringing together some odds and ends that may be of interest to you:
    • Dale Blaney, the all-time great West Virginia University basketball star, has achieved another historic notch in his athletic career as a Sprint Car racer. He posted his 100th career riding in the All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car Series at Attica Raceway Park in Ohio last weekend.

    April 12, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN- What a wonderful evening with Dr. Stanley ‘Coach’ Kandzari

    This column really is not about sports, per se. But, more importantly, it is about a widely known medical doctor whose nickname happens to be “Coach.”

    April 8, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Turnbull endured many tragedies growing up

    Coach Craig Turnbull, the latest head-coach victim of Oliver Luck’s shocking series of firings at West Virginia University, had generally enjoyed what many rate as an outstanding career not only in athletics but in life.
    Like the present, there also were some very difficult times for him as a youngster.

    April 6, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: All-time WVU great QB Bernie Galiffa dies at 63

    It was very sad to learn that Bernie Galiffa, one of the most outstanding quarterbacks in West Virginia University football history, had passed away.
    The three-year letterman for famed coach Bobby Bowden died last Thursday in Wilmington, N.C., at the age of 63.

    April 4, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Is $106 million in facilities updates really key to WVU sports success?

    You may have heard or read that West Virginia University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is planning to spend $106 million for major projects.
    According to published reports, that is to improve athletic facilities, including Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium and the WVU Coliseum (yet to be named for a rich donor).

    April 2, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Who’s next on Oliver Luck’s hatchet list?

    Who’s going to be next on Oliver Luck’s sad house-cleaning list as West Virginia University’s athletic director?
    Craig Turnbull, the outstanding head coach and builder of the Mountaineers’ wrestling program for 36 years, was notified on Friday afternoon that Luck shockingly announced that his contract will not be renewed on June 30 for next year.

    March 30, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Herbie Brooks one of Catlett’s early standouts at WVU

    Herbie Brooks, a native of Beckley, was an All-Stater at Mullens High School and demonstrated his talents at West Virginia University from 1984-89 in men’s basketball.
    The 6-foot-2, 185-pound guard performed admirably under coach Gale Catlett’s direction.

    March 29, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads