Freddie Hudson III, the Richmond Academy football player who was paralyzed nearly 25 years ago on a kickoff return at ARC Stadium, died Thursday. He was 42.
His mother, Lurlia Hudson, said on Friday that her son had been in the hospital since Aug. 25 with pneumonia and a urinary tract infection.
He lost the ability to talk, she said, in Oct. 2010 when he went on a ventilator.
Hudson was a 175-pound senior defensive end for the Musketeers in 1988. On the opening kickoff of a Nov. 4 game against Westside, Hudson made a shoulder tackle on the Patriots’ Scott Pittenger.
Hudson, who was 17 years old, suffered multiple fractures in his third and fourth vertebrae, which protect the spinal cord, and never walked again.
Over the years, he suffered multiple bouts with pneumonia, respiratory infections and bladder infections.
In 1990, Hudson enrolled in Augusta State. Nine years later, he graduated with a degree in computer science.
“He never let it get him down,” his mother said of Freddie’s handicap. “He was always happy, always smiling, always saying good things about people, never anything bad. He was always upbeat.
“He kept me straight,” she said. “I’d get upset with some everyday-life thing and he’d say, ‘now, mama don’t do that.’ ”
Because he needed 24-hour care, Lurlia Hudson said her son “never got a chance to work.”
However, at the Hudson home, she said Freddie would instruct his caregivers how to build and repair computers.
The funeral will be at 1 p.m. on Thursday at Central Church of Christ, 3650 Old Petersburg Rd.
A visitation will be on Wednesday from 5-7 p.m. at Williams Funeral Home, 2945 Tobacco Rd. in Hephzibah.