HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – There has been an outpouring of support for the Athens High community after a football player was allegedly stabbed by a teammate.
Family and friends visited 18-year-old Tarik Malone at the hospital Wednesday. His teammate, Rashaun Anderson, out on bond, faces charges as an adult.
The school district says they are letting law enforcement and due process take hold.
“Very devastating. Tarik grew up in my house and it weakened me,” said Sharon Stanley. Stanley is Malone’s aunt. She and other family members have been at Huntsville Hospital since Tuesday night.
After the senior was flown to the hospital, he was in surgery for hours.
“Then they finally came out and told us the news that they removed one of his kidneys and part of his colon,” said Stanley. She says Tarik is doing better.
His aunt says he laughed and smiled with family, friends, and teammates on Wednesday.
Back in Athens, school administrators kept a watchful eye on the schoolhouse.
“Today was a very uneventful day and we’re thankful for that,” said Athens City Schools Superintendent Will Holladay.
The school system is making counselors available to students. Also, there is an increased police presence at the high school.
“We thought we acted very appropriately. What we did see was 90 percent attendance in the morning,” Holladay said.
Many students checked out of school and visited Malone at the hospital.
“The support and the love from the team as a whole has just been overwhelming,” said Stanley.
Malone is expected to make a full recovery. His family says he will be released in about a week.
“Of course his passion is football, and that’s something that may have to be on hold for now,” said Stanley. “It’s his senior year so it’s heartbreaking but I believe he will heal and bounce back.”
The school board can expel Rashaun Anderson. He is out on bond, and out of school, as the investigation continues.
Support from Malone’s teammates has brought smiles as he recovers from surgery.
“Coach gathered us in the locker room and said there was a stabbing. When he said it was Tarik, my heart dropped,” said Trey Potts. The basketball and football player is a teammate and best friend of Tarik.
Nearly a dozen Athens High athletes joined Potts at Huntsville Hospital Wednesday to check on the “team comedian” they say is “like a brother.”
“I was right there, I was trying to hold Tarik back,” said teammate Terrance Watkins. “After he got stabbed, I was trying to check on him.
Hope for Malone goes beyond his team and school district. Clements High tweeted this photo to show support.
“Yesterday [football] was the farthest thing from our minds,” said head coach Allen Creasy. “We were concerned for the well-being of one of our family members.”
The Golden Eagles play Deshler Thursday evening, and even though Tarik won’t be on the field, he’ll be on the minds of his teammates.
“We are still going to practice hard and play hard for him tomorrow, but the locker room won’t be the same,” said Potts.
“We’re just going to fight, and play for him,” said Watkins, “I’ll be wearing his jersey to show respect.”