Female football player faces long road to recovery after wreck - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Female football player faces long road to recovery after wreck

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JOHNSTON CITY -- Vickie Mueller is one of just a few female high school football players in the region, but now she's just happy to be alive.

Mueller, 17, was on her way back from a bonfire early Sunday morning when she dozed off behind the wheel.

"I remember all of it," Mueller said from her hospital bed in St. Louis. Her car flipped several times after she drove off Interstate 64 in Wayne County, gruesomely tearing apart her left arm.

"I woke up to blood everywhere and my car was upside down," Mueller said. "I picked up the pieces of my arm and put them on my leg and was just trying to find a way to get out of my car."

She's resting at a St. Louis hospital, thankful to be alive. But she has a long road ahead of her, filled with surgeries over the next few days.

"This is gonna kind of change my future plans, but God has a plan for me so you have to go with it and keep fighting," Mueller said.

Mueller was in the process of applying to the U-S Naval Academy. According to her mother, Cindy Smith Edwards, Mueller originally spoke with Bill Searcy of Carterville about getting nominated to the academy, but he died in a September plane crash before forwarding his interview to the academy.

"(Searcy) was talking about getting his suit out, polishing it up, getting all his medals out but then he died in that plane crash," Smith Edwards said.

"She is one of those really unique people that change other people's lives," Smith Edwards said. "A lot of people don't realize how much of a go-getter she is or how much time she gives for other people, doing fundraisers for people she doesn't even know."

Johnston City football coach Dan Mings said Mueller lights up the world around her. She's also earned every opportunity on the gridiron.

"I could write a book about Vickie," Mings said. "The hours that she spends up here in the dark, running, and the hours that she spends in the weight room lifting just so she can compete with the boys she can play against... I wish all my kids would prepare the way she does and to work hard the way that she does."

On top of her athletic accolades, she's also a honor roll student and class president. She's up for Homecoming Queen as well, something that will be decided Wednesday.

Mueller said she's grateful for the support of the community.

"I just want them all to know I love them and I'm happy they're behind me on this and supporting me," Mueller said. "Don't worry too much about me because I'll be OK."

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