OSU's Andrew McGee: 'I could have been paralyzed'

Oklahoma State cornerback Andrew McGee walked off of Owen Field in Norman last November not knowing that he had broken his neck. Eight months later, McGee is preparing to play in the Cowboys' opener against Washington State.
BY BRANDON CHATMON, Staff Writer, bchatmon@opubco.com Modified: August 25, 2010 at 9:43 am •  Published: August 24, 2010

Eight months ago, Andrew McGee’s football career was in jeopardy. The Oklahoma State cornerback suffered a broken neck during OSU’s Bedlam loss last November, throwing his life into flux.

“Initially, I didn’t know it was broken,” McGee said. “The terrifying part was sitting in the doctor’s office and having him tell me my neck was broken.”

McGee had been able to walk off of Owen Field, with assistance, with no idea just how serious the injury was.

“That was scary,” McGee said of finding out the severity of his injury. “I felt like I could have been paralyzed, and it was tough dealing with that.”

After wearing a neck brace for a few months and missing spring practice, McGee was cleared to return to the field.

“It was hard going through it with a neck brace and all,” he said. “It was difficult. I was scared I wouldn’t be able to play football anymore. I was blessed to be able to come back.”

But, he still faced a sizable hurdle.

Football is a physical game, and timid souls need not apply. So while he was cleared to play, it would have been natural for him to be hesitant to return to the physical style that made him one of the Cowboys’ top tacklers in 2009.

Thoughts of the injury and the past easily could have crept into his mind every time he closed in on a running back to make a tackle or dived in front of a receiver to knock the ball away.

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ANDREW MCGEE THE MENTOR

Cornerback Andrew McGee is the only senior in Oklahoma State's starting secondary. The junior college transfer has taken on a bigger leadership role in his second year on campus, especially with sophomores and freshmen surrounding him at cornerback.

"I knew I had to be," McGee said of the leadership role. "My role on the defense, I'm the only senior in the secondary. I have to be vocal along with Markelle (Martin)."

Last year, McGee was OSU's third cornerback providing solid depth behind Terrance Anderson and Perrish Cox. This season, he's OSU's No. 1 cornerback and the leader of a young, and talented, group of defenders.

"It's a different role," he said. "I'm ready to be a leader and be the guy they need to be a lockdown (corner)."

McGee has made it a point to mentor sophomores Brodrick Brown and Andrae May along with freshmen Devin Hedgepeth, Larry Stephens and Justin Gilbert.

"We have some young corners that are going to be good," McGee said. "I want to be a leader in all areas and give an example so they can see that."

By Brandon Chatmon

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