Support Continues as McD Linebacker Recovers


Robert Frank

Workers at Picassos restaurant supported Johnny Huebel by wearing his jersey number on Oct. 23 for #23strong day for Heubel.

 McDowell football starting linebacker, Jonathan (Johnny) Huebel, was life flighted to Pittsburgh on Sept. 25 after collapsing on the sideline during the game against Cathedral Prep. 

This devastating event has many in tears for the Huebel family, and as a result people all over the city are coming together to give their support. 

Friends of the family started a GoFundMe page to support the family with income needs. The exact amount raised for Huebel and his family was $71,242 from Sept. 26, to Oct.27. Not only did supporters create the GoFundMe page, but others have made shirts and bracelets to raise money for the family. On Oct. 23, in honor of Heubel’s jersey number being 23, local restaurants donated part of their sales to the Heubel family to help with medical costs and the cost of living in Pittsburgh while Huebel recovers from a brain aneurysm and two brain surgeries. 

“I do believe it has made our district strong as a whole because it put us all in a situation together,” said McDowell teammate and friend Taha Ramahi. 

Huebel’s teammates and coaches have been especially affected by the incident, but have found strength in each other.

Coach Aaron Slocum described Huebel as one of the most physical players on defense and as a leader among the defensive players on the field. 

“I feel that for a team that was already close, we became closer because we relied on each other to try and deal with Johnny’s injury,” Slocum said. “I know from a personal standpoint, I felt my best when I was with our players and coaches at practice (after it happened).” 

In the game where he collapsed, Huebel had assisted in tackles and left the game, but did not show any signs of an injury immediately. He was preparing to return to the game on the sideline when he collapsed. 

Once Huebel arrived in Pittsburgh on Sept. 25, he was rushed into the operating room for surgery. 

“What happened to my brother is so crazy and unimaginable,” Ramahi said. 

Not only did Huebel have one surgery the day he arrived in Pittsburgh, he also had one the following day due to a brain aneurysm which is the weakness in a blood vessel in the brain that balloons and fills with blood.  

After his surgeries he was placed in a medically-induced coma to help his brain to heal, but came out of it in the beginning of October. 

“The doctors all say that he’s doing better than most people would with his injury and fights harder than anyone they’ve seen,” Ramahi said. 

Huebel is recovering at Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh, and his parents are looking for a house to rent so they can be there during his recovery.