2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

DeBerry’s grandson recovering from broken neck

Published: October 21, 2013, 12:54 am, by Brent Briggeman

I spoke with longtime Air Force football coach Fisher DeBerry over the weekend and he shared some frightening family news. His 16-year-old grandson, Andrew Sabatini, a promising football player in the Tulsa, Okla., area, recently suffered a broken vertebrae in his neck and had a surgery that took bone from his hip to fuse two vertebra together. Ligaments around the broken bone were also damaged.

“It was a blessing that he didn’t have any more serious damage than he did,” DeBerry said. “Time will tell if he can play again down the road.”

DeBerry didn’t mention how the injury occurred, but Sabatini’s Twitter feed indicated it was a result of a trampoline accident.

Andrew’s older brother, Joe, is playing baseball at Baylor.

Watching their grandchildren play sports occupies a great deal of time for DeBerry and his wife, LuAnn. The couple splits time between homes in South Carolina and Oklahoma.

DeBerry coached Air Force from 1984 until 2006 and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2011.