Road to Recovery: Injured St. Paul’s Football Player Michael Doherty Discusses Plans for College


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Doherty smiles in his cap and gown, ready to celebrate the culmination of his roller-coaster high school experience. (Photo by Xpressions Photography, used with permission)

(COVINGTON, La.)  On Nov. 11, 2016, Michael Doherty suffered a spinal injury during a playoff football game under the lights of Hunter Stadium. Doherty has since been confined to a wheelchair, and his life is about to change once again through a little journey called college.

Doherty will attend Louisiana State University in the fall.

Navigating freshman year in college is difficult for most, but navigating the stately oaks of LSU will be especially difficult for Doherty. However, with certain special accommodations and a strong support group of friends from St. Paul’s and Mandeville High School, Michael is hopeful and ready to take on college.

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Doherty’s relationship with the LSU Football program resulted in a pre-game picture with receiver DJ Chark. (Photo courtesy Michael Doherty, Instagram)

“I met with the disability and housing offices last week,” Doherty said. “I’ll be able to have certain accommodations, like a note-taker and priority registration for my classes. All of my classrooms will be accommodated. I’ll eventually have a service dog.”

“We’re going to continue to help him out in every way we can,” said SPS Senior Gabe Ingram, a close friend of Doherty’s that will attend LSU in the fall. “We are going to be on the same floor as him, and help him out whenever he needs us. It’s going to be a challenge, but we’ll make it work.”

Doherty is still undergoing physical therapy, and his progress has given him hope for the future.

“I’ve gotten a lot stronger, especially during my time in Atlanta. And from then to now, I’m even stronger. I’ve just got to hope for the best, and to keep working and never give up,” Doherty said.

Michael attends outpatient therapy at the Touro Rehabilitation Center in New Orleans twice a week, and once a week at the Ochsner Medical Center in Slidell. After his graduation in May, he plans to return the Shepherd Rehabilitation Center in Atlanta for six weeks for an “upscale intense therapy.” He and his family hope to find a rehabilitation center in Baton Rouge once he begins his fall semester at LSU.

“I can’t thank (my classmates) enough,” Doherty said. “Anytime somebody sees that I need something, they’ll help me out. And I’m so thankful for that. Because I know and I’ve witnessed people that don’t have the support group that I have. Since day one, everyone has helped as much as they can, and I’m thankful for that.”

Doherty plans to major in business, but he also wants to incorporate something along the lines of sports management into his studies.

– LSU running back Darrius Guice subtweeted a video of Doherty’s rehab efforts on a “walking machine” at Ochsner of Slidell (Original tweet here).


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