COLUMBUS, Ohio — For Ohio State University defensive tackle Haskell Garrett, being back on the field is a blessing.
Considering what he’s been through makes it even more impressive.
On Aug. 30, Garrett was shot in the face near Ohio State’s campus. He told police he was trying to break up a dispute between two people when he was shot.
“I underwent a series of surgeries on my mouth and I had to get a bone graft in my mouth,” Garrett said.
The bullet went through both his cheeks causing permanent damage to his mouth.
“I’m missing a total of five teeth,” he said. “I have to drink a lot of protein shakes. My intake is a lot more. I’m on a liquid diet.”
But he didn’t let the injury stop him. Once he knew the wound wasn’t life threatening, he started to refocus on how he could get back on the field.
“Post-surgery, I couldn’t do anything physically, but I could do stuff mentally,” Garrett said. “Just sit there and talk with Coach (Johnson) and go over game plans. Just be prepared as possible. Like I said when I came back to be ready to do anything and everything to help the team.”
The Buckeyes coaching staff said his recovery was miraculous. And they are very proud to see him making plays on the field once again.
“I thought that when the incident happened our medical personnel here were on top of it right from the jump,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. “We were able to get him in with a great surgeon and the recovery was excellent."
Day credits OSU’s training and coaching staff for getting Garrett ready to play without contact.
“Ultimately, it’s a great job by Haskell, getting his body and mind ready to play without getting a lot of those reps,” Day said.
Garrett played so well in the season opener against Nebraska, he earned defensive player of the week from the coaching staff. Giving another reason for Garrett to be thankful for his blessings.
“It felt awesome,” Garrett said. "It felt great being out there playing with my brothers.”
Columbus Police said no arrest has been made, and Garrett no longer wants to pursue charges, so the case is considered inactive.