Kentucky Wildcats linebacker Chris Oats is out this season due to a medical emergency he suffered this past summer. The actual injury/medial issue has not been publicly announced, but there’s no doubt that Oats still remains a big part of this program.
Throughout the season, Oats’ No. 22 jersey is being worn by a different player every game to show that Oats is there on the field in spirit.
And following Kentucky’s win over Mississippi State — a game UK won by 22 points — Mark Stoops, Vince Marrow and Jon Sumrall delivered the game ball to Oats.
So overjoyed @Christopheroats got to return home this weekend.— Mark Stoops (@UKCoachStoops) October 11, 2020
We played #22OatsStrong, won by 22, and shared a special moment with him personally delivering the game ball.https://t.co/THGrzGVgFs pic.twitter.com/HOlHOtk56p
While it remains unclear how long Oats will be sidelined, Stoops is still hopeful that the junior linebacker will eventually wear a UK jersey again.
During his Monday call-in show, Stoops said that he does believe Oats will play again, but we’re a long ways away from that being a possibility.
Mark Stoops on the possibility of Chris Oats playing again for Kentucky: "I do [think he will], I do. That is being very optimistic, but that is what I believe. He has a long, long way to go, and he needs our prayers."— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) October 12, 2020
Earlier in the day, Stoops discussed what it was like delivering the game ball to Oats and his family.
“To go up and see Chris (Oats) yesterday and deliver that game ball to him and see what Chris is going through...we don’t take enough time to be grateful for what we have, and our team needs to understand that and things can change in a moment. We have enough situations on our team where we can look right at those examples and realize how fortunate we are and we need to make the most of every opportunity that we have.
“To see Chris like that, it was good to see him. He is strong and doing good but it is a tough, long road to recovery that he has.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with Oats.