MANDEVILLE, LA (WVUE) - There's an outpouring of support for a St. Paul's High School football player who was badly injured during a game.
Michael Doherty will tell you it's good to be home.
"It's awesome. I missed it," he said. "Mainly just hanging out with my friends, that's what I miss the most, I try to do that and just get back into the swing of things."
Doherty sustained a broken vertebra during a football game back in November, and the injury left him paralyzed. Now, he's back at school after finishing weeks of therapy at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta.
"I just got back in town on Friday and I started school this Monday. About to finish my first week and I'm doing good, finished 13 weeks of therapy and will start physical therapy back home next week, so I'm excited for that," Doherty said.
With medical bills mounting, the North Shore community came up with a plan to help. It's called Mighty Michael's 36 slam. A tennis tournament at the Pelican Athletic Club started Thursday night in Mandeville, and, there's lots more to come through the weekend, including flag football, food, drinks and a raffle. All proceeds will go to Michael and his family.
"We wanted to do something for the family. We know that he has a lot of medical expenses, so we wanted to be able to give back to him and let him know that the community cares and we know over here on the North Shore, the tennis community is such a big community, so we knew with other charity tournaments that we do here, we knew that this was a good way for us to give back to him pretty quickly too," said organizer Becky Richards.
"It's touching, very touching. I have a junior - it's touching you know? Just the outpouring of everyone wanting to help, you know, in every aspect. It's been, like I said, it's a blessing," said organizer, Edna Eikel.
And Michael and his family are thankful for the support.
"I think it's pretty awesome that they pitched an idea and it became a big event like this," he said. "It's a great way to raise money for all the medical expenses, it's just awesome. It's amazing. I couldn't have done it without all the support from my friends, family and the rest of the community."
Organizers expect to raise at least $60,000 for Michael and his family at the Mighty Micheal's 36 Slam fundraiser. Some Saints and LSU players will be stopping by Saturday, as well as the Pelicans cheerleaders.
If you would like to join in on the fun and help Michael, the raffle is open to the public. For more information on the event, just click here.