Tre Turner reflects on his Virginia Tech growth and a bittersweet ending: ‘This whole opportunity has been a blessing’

BLACKSBURG, Va. — Tre Turner couldn’t breathe. The Virginia Tech receiver fell hard on his ribs going up to make a catch at Miami, irritating his pneumomediastinum — the condition that left extra air trapped in his upper body — as he struggled to take any deep breaths while slowly walking off the field.

This wasn’t how it was supposed to go, not after Turner underwent a series of CT scans and X-rays just to get approved to play the previous week. Not after he drove with two staffers for 17.5 hours over two days from Blacksburg to Miami because flying would complicate his condition. Not after a quarter and a half in which he’d already made a one-handed touchdown catch that compares nicely to some of the highlight-reel snags in his career. And not when his team needed him to try to dig out of an early hole against the Hurricanes.

The doctors wouldn’t let him go, though, with the pain he couldn’t shake in his upper body confirming the decision.

“I was just all in my head,” said Turner, who took his pads off and cheered on his team from the sideline. “I went through that long drive, then to only play not even a full half, just kind of everything was all over the place. Emotions were crazy. I’m just glad I didn’t tear up the locker room.”

Things are better now. Turner is back in Blacksburg after an even more cumbersome drive back from Miami that involved calling 27 different hotels around the Jacksonville area to find a vacancy. The air that was trapped in his throat has been absorbed by his body. He’s good to go for the Virginia game on Saturday, ready to end on a high note in his final regular-season college game.


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