Hunter Knighton: 19 Months Later

The best stories in sports to read and listen to are about players that have overcome adversity in some way in their lifetime whether it involves their family, friends, or health. Every sports fan loves a “feel good” story about a player succeeding regardless of where their loyalty may lie. These inspirational stories seem to help form a special connection and bond between sports fans and players.

This past Saturday, College GameDay traveled to the University of Miami to host the Clemson vs. Miami ACC matchup. The Clemson Tigers ended up dominating the Miami ‘Canes 58-0. Although the ‘Canes were not necessarily proud of the final score, they were proud of their sophomore football player, Hunter Knighton. College GameDay aired the inspiring story of Hunter Knighton before the game and it was a humbling and touching story.


February 24, 2014 felt like a normal practice morning for Knighton, but the day quickly took a turn for the worst after only a few drills. Knighton had sat out the previous season as a redshirt, but had been participating in off season workouts even though he was not feeling very well. This particular morning at practice his body temperature rose to 109 degrees causing Knighton to collapse on the field. He was unresponsive and his organs were beginning to shut down. The time frame when he was not feeling well was because he had the flu, which ultimately triggered the heat stroke, the collapse, and organ failure.

Knighton was rushed to the University of Miami hospital and his parents were told that they needed to come right away. He was put into a medically induced coma so that his body and temperature could stabilize. Twelve days later, he woke up. Knighton had no idea he had been in a coma or of the consequences of his body temperature exceeding its natural level. He had lost 55 pounds and could barely walk when he was released from the hospital on March 10th. Despite all of his medical conditions, he immediately wanted to know when he could play football again.

It was a long journey but after months of tests, treatments, and pure dedication; Knighton was cleared to play football again. His regained strength allowed him to re-enroll in school and get back to the game he loves. It has been 19 months since Knighton’s collapse on the Miami football field. He now serves as an inspiration to his family, friends, fellow players, and coaches. His mother, Carole Knighton says, “having him survive, that was the win, but seeing him able to fulfill his dream of playing college football, that’s the frosting on the cake. It made it complete. It’s a miracle.”


Hunter Knighton’s story is a perfect example of a player overcoming adversity and how that links all sports fans to him. Anyone who takes the time to learn about his story and all that he overcame to be able to play the game he loves again will respect him. Everyone is not a Miami ‘Canes fan, but any football fan could be a Hunter Knighton fan.

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