Full of Heart: Hickey inspiring St. Joe into state title game

One year ago, Collin Hickey was St. Joe's last line of defense as the Indians fell in the 3A state finals.

His goal in the off-season, to get his team back to Lucas Oil Stadium in his senior season.

But before this season, doctors told him there was something wrong with his heart.

"They said I couldn't play," Hickey said this week as he the Indians prepare for a return to the state title game. "I was just so taken back about it at first. I didn't believe it. I didn't want to believe it or anything."

But it was the reality. A 2nd opinion resulted in the same opinion. a pre-existing heart issue from when Hickey was a kid was now apparently too serious for him to compete.

For seven games, Hickey watched from the sidelines as his teammates played. But he didn't give in, finally getting an appointment with the team doctor at Indiana.

He was told he was just fine and could resume playing football immediately. Hickey learned the news while hanging out with friends. His mom text him that he was cleared to play.

"I don't know," Hickey says with a big smile thinking about what was going through his mind at that time. "It took me a little bit to have it all sink in but it was awesome."

St. Joe's leader---on and off the field---was back.

"As soon as saw him put on his helmet, I saw his face light up," senior lineman Jason Mulligan explains. "To know that he got something taken away from him and he got it back, just a great feeling for me and everyone else--especially him."

Hickey returned after two straight Indians losses to play against Clay. He almost caught a touchdown pass while playing wide receiver. He did intercept a pass as a defensive back.

St. Joe hasn't lost a game since Hickey returned. His defense has been fantastic.

Last week in Semi-State he intercepted his 3rd pass of the post-season. But when he got tackled on the play, grabbed at his chest and everyone feared the worst.

"Yes--that was the scariest moment of my coaching career," St. Joe coach Ben Downey says.

After regaining his breathe, Hickey got up and walked off on his own power. Collin was just fine. It was a freak coincidence. There was nothing wrong with his heart. He just got popped in the chest.

"I probably shouldn't have grabbed [my chest]," Hickey says with a laugh. "That probably gave some of my family a little bit of a scare."

Collin returned to the game and finished what he started. St. Joe won and now he's going to play for a state championship again.

"No, No," Hickey says of whether he believed he'd be in this position two months ago.

"It's been a crazy ride. It's just worked out so great. All the support everyone's given me. It's just been unbelievable. It's awesome."

Now, he wants one more win.

Hickey and St. Joe will face Chatard in a rematch of last year's state championship game Saturday at Noon at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Trojans defeated the Indians for the state title in 2007 and 2010.

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