by Jeff Rud

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In a football game against Milbury High School, star linebacker Reggie Scott makes an interception. Soon after, he is tackled from behind by tight end Nate Brown, who rams his head into Reggie's side. This unsafe tackling technique results in Nate being sent off the field to the hospital, much to Reggie's surprise and dismay. Throughout the course of the first few chapters, Reggie must deal with the guilt of being involved with the near-paralysis of someone he knows, as well as the furious accusations of Nate's mother.


Reggie Scott

"I hurried through the... hospital, suddenly feeling like an intruder" (37).

The main protagonist in the novel, Reggie is the senior captain of Lincoln High's football team. He is shown to be very affected by what happened to Nate, even though the injury was not his fault. His obsession with wanting to visit the hospital and re-watch the tape highlights his anxiety issues that continue to spiral out of control as the plot develops.

Coach Clark

" 'For now he's not walking. I know that's not what anybody wants to hear, but I thought you boys deserved to know the truth... The second piece of new is this: our game with Milbury has been rescheduled' " (64-65).

The head coach of the Lincoln High football team, Clark has worked with Reggie since he was a little boy. Unlike Reggie, his sanity remains grounded after the Nate Brown incident, and throughout the novel he constantly reminds Reggie that the injury was not his fault. He reminds his team that their next game should be what is on their minds, not something that happened in the past.

Mrs. Brown

" 'Don't come back. Ever! I don't want you here' " (55).

The first we see of Nate's mother is her hysterical sobbing on the field when her son was injured. Contrary to Coach Clark, Nate's mom was increadibly affected by the incident, and stubbornly believes that it was entirely Reggie's fault. She has a massively negative impact on Reggie's life, as she only increases the amount of guilt Reggie already has to deal with.
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