Just over six weeks ago in the wee hours of the morning in Mingo County, West Virginia, David Jones was shot in the abdomen. The former Belfry and Kentucky football star told the Herald-Leader he had to drive 30 minutes to the hospital with the gunshot a wound, a drive he almost didn’t survive.
“I barely made it,” Jones said. “My feet started to get cold. … I was just blessed to make it. It’s a surreal moment, big time. I don’t wish this on anyone at all.”
Jones spent two weeks in the hospital before he could return to work as Phelps High School’s head football coach. The cornerback who returned a kickoff for touchdown to help UK win the 2009 Liberty Bowl, he’s actually had more success as a coach. Phelps lost 27 straight games until last September, his first year leading the program. Since that first win they’ve won six of their last nine and are 2-0 for the first time since 1984.
Despite Jones’ success on the field, he’s struggled since the injury. The bullet could not be removed because it was too close to his spine. He has decreased hearing and post-traumatic stress.
“I’ve got a lot that’s been taken from me that’s just been mentally hurting me, but at the end of the day I’m alive and I’m able to tell my story,” Jones said. “But not only that, I’m able to try to change some things around here because there’s been a lot of black-on-black crime and nobody wants to speak up on it. I’m gonna speak up on it because I was involved in it and nobody wants to understand it.”
Dennis Paige Jr. has been charged with malicious wounding in connection with the shooting. The case will be heard by a Mingo County grand jury on September 17.