All Ronnie Mills felt was numb.
The quarterback of East Fairmont’s football team, Mills was playing at Preston County on a freezing Friday night last season. He took the snap, but couldn’t hang onto it because his fingers were so bitterly cold.
As the junior dove for the loose ball, an opposing player speared him right in his throwing shoulder.
Mills hid the injury from the coaching staff initially. He “had to” because the game was tight. But once Mills got to the locker room, he began to realize the full extent of his injury.
“I couldn’t take off my shoulder pads,” Mills said. “I knew something was wrong. I had to pull it off with one arm because I couldn’t lift (my right) arm.”
Mills continued to hide the injury that week during practice, but as the pain grew, his father insisted that he sit out.
Two weeks later, Mills saw WVU’s trainer and got an MRI. The diagnosis: torn labrum. Season over.
“It was tough simply because Ronnie was our quarterback at the time,” defensive coordinator Chad Davidson said. “When the quarterback goes down, it’s tough because the kids that were under him — a sophomore and a freshman — had no varsity experience whatsoever.”