Billy Joe Young Jersey Comes Out of Retirment after 70 years

Billy Joe Young Jersey Comes Out of Retirment after 70 years

Gracie Green

In 1951, Billy Joe Young was a freshman running back on the football team at Brookwood High School. On October 27th, in a game against Thompson High School, Young was injured and paralyzed from the neck down. The football field where he was injured was later named the Billy Joe Young Field and it is home to the Brookwood Panthers. In 1957, Young’s number three jersey was retired in another attempt to honor him.

After his accident, Young was hospitalized for three years to help with his rehabilitation. He was released in 1954 and returned to Abernant, his home town, where he remained for the rest of his life. Billy Joe Young’s story is one that has been told in Brookwood for over seventy years. Young is an inspiration in the community because of his continued love of sports and his love for God. In an interview about her brother and his life after the accident, Linda Young-Fisher said, “Billy Joe loved being involved in the community, whether it was calling the games at the Abernant ballpark or just going to one of the high schools games, he was always so excited to just be surrounded by people. Everyone was so good to us after the accident and it felt like everyone in both Brookwood and Abernant was just, and still are, members of our family.”

As of 2022, the jersey has been taken out of retirement. Brookwood High School’s head football coach, Mike Bramblett introduced the idea last spring that the football coaches would pick one player on the team and that that player would get to wear the number three for the year. He spoke to Mrs. Fisher about it on a baseball trip with the high school to Gulf Shores last Spring Break, and after talking with the rest of her family about it, they agreed that Bramblett’s idea would be a great way to honor Billy Joe. Bramblett says that the player who gets the jersey is, “the player who brings to life the standards that we are trying to create in our program. It’s not about being the best or being the All American, it’s about who presents the character traits that we are trying to instill in our team.”

Jacob Rowell, a sophomore, is the player who received the jersey this year. Bramblett talks highly about Rowell, saying that, “He is a great and humble young man. When we told him that he was getting the jersey, he told us that there were other people who deserved it and we said ‘well we pick you.” When asked how it felt to be the first player in over fifty years who has worn the number three jersey, Rowell said that it is a huge honor to be the player that the coaches chose. Rowell also comments that his hard work both on and off the field is what gave him this opportunity.

Coach Bramblett says that the number three jersey will continue to be worn by a different player, who meets the standards that both him and the other coaches have set, yearly. Linda Young-Fisher and her family all agree that it is a beautiful way to honor their loved one.