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Beyond the Game: Football player survives 90-foot fall from a bluff

Hunter Boyer travels back to Crow Mountain for the first time (KATV - Beyond the Game)

It was one of those nice nights in late April. Hunter Boyer, described as an "all-American boy" by his parents, was lounging on a mountain with his girlfriend. He took a walk. Then he stepped too close to the edge.

"I watched him fall back," said his girlfriend, Alaina Willcutt.

Boyer is a senior at Atkins High School, located about an hour northwest of Little Rock. Arkansans may be familiar with nearby Crow Mountain. For many years, it boasted a bright Arkansas Razorbacks sign visible from Interstate 40.

Crow Mountain can be gorgeous, but the remote spot can be just as dangerous. Hunter's fall was estimated to be 90 feet.

Alaina called 911. Boyer's parents rushed to the scene.

"We pulled up and I jumped out before the truck had stopped," Hunter's mom, Stephanie, said as tears began to fall down her face. "I took off running to the side of the mountain. I looked down and I saw him at the bottom."

Hunter's father, Brian, was the first to reach his side.

"He said 'don't leave me.' I said 'I'm not going anywhere.'"

After paramedics arrived, the rescue took two hours.

"I mean you can hardly walk out of there by yourself, much less carry somebody," Brian said. "So we took turns [carrying the stretcher]. Or they took turns. I never would let go of the stretcher. I said 'I'm here for the duration.'"

Hunter was eventually airlifted to Arkansas Children's Hospital. His injuries, though numerous, could have been far worse. He suffered a fractured skull, three fractured bones in his back, a bruised kidney, spleen and lungs.

"I was like, I'm not ever going to play again," Hunter said. "That's honestly the first thought that went through my head. I didn't even know if I was going to walk."

Bedridden just months before the season, his recovery defies reason. Over the summer, he slowly showed signs of improvement. After extensive rehab and physical therapy, doctors and specialists cleared him for football.

Amazingly, Hunter started every game this season for Atkins. The Red Devils even made the playoffs.

During the taping of KATV's story, Hunter and his family returned to Crow Mountain for the first time since the incident.

"My heart's pounding. My knees are weak," Hunter admitted as he inched back toward the edge. "I'm terrified."

An hour later, it was Senior Night for Atkins. Hunter's back still gives him pain, but the ceremonial stroll with his parents across the field served as a humbling, emotional reminder just how lucky they are.

"At least we made it this far," Stephanie said. "Could've been another direction."

"Don't take things for granted," said Hunter. "Because I didn't expect to live through that."

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