Sgt. Brad Lively has not put on a Southeast Missouri State University football uniform in 15 years, but today's team still considers him a member of their family. Two players and the coach of Southeast's football team visited St. Francis Medical Center on Thursday to show their support for the trooper who has been in the hospital's intensive care unit since being struck by a car Monday morning.
Tracey Lively, the trooper's wife, was at the hospital Thursday to meet with Southeast football coach Tim Billings, starting quarterback Andrew Goodenough and team captain Dan Connolly, who presented her with a football jersey with her husband's old number -- 87 -- on it.
"It will really lift his spirits, thank you," Tracey Lively said upon receiving the jersey. "Football is very near and dear to my husband's heart."
Because Brad Lively still is in intensive care, the players and coach were not allowed to visit with him.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper has undergone three surgeries since his accident. The latest surgery took place Wednesday, said Sgt. Larry Plunkett, public information officer for the patrol.
"Things are going as well as can be expected," he said. "It's going to be day by day."
A graduate of Notre Dame High School, Brad Lively had no football background when he walked up to then-Southeast football coach Bob Smith and told him that he wanted to be on the team.
He went on to play tight end for Southeast from 1987 to 1989, which were all winning seasons. During his football career, Lively caught 21 passes, including three for touchdowns.
"He's one of us, and he always will be," Billings said.
The Monday morning accident occurred when Lively, a zone supervisor for Cape Girardeau, Bollinger and Scott counties, was conducting a routine traffic stop on northbound Interstate 55 about a mile north of Cape Girardeau.
Shortly after 10 a.m., Lively stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation and was standing by his patrol car when he was struck by a vehicle driven by Talisa Jackson, 23, of St. Louis.
Lively was air-lifted from the scene to St. Francis Medical Center where he immediately underwent surgery for two broken legs.
No arrest has been made. The patrol is still investigating the accident.
The patrol has been inundated with phone calls from people wanting to help Lively. A fund in Lively's name has been set up at the Bank of Missouri. Donations can be made at any Bank of Missouri location.
335-6611, extension 182