Athlete of the Week: Palmetto Christian's Chris Shimakonis

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) -- It's not often a coach ends up being the ABC News 4 Athlete of the Week, but Palmetto Christian first-year head coach Chris Shimakonis certainly deserves the honor after taking one for his team.

Coaches always relive one play from Friday night for days after. Shimakonis is no different.

The only difference in this case, Shimakonis has four days to reflect on the play from his hospital bed. The end of the story didn't exactly go his way.

"Had a play call and they ran the play wrong. The ball got intercepted. I looked at the offensive coordinator and we were shaking our heads. And then I got hit," he said.

"Friday night, I would wake up and relive the hit. I've seen it enough in my mind. I won't watch it again. My story is, look for the water boy. I think he was close by so me taking the hit probably saved his life, but I don't want to be a hero though," Shimakonis said.

Without the meds, Shimakonis he talked freely about what really happened.

He was coaching, not looking at the field when his own player and one from the other team ran over him. And he's not a small guy.

"The surgeon who did work was right behind me, just got to game, said, 'Chris is down.' He walked over. He threw me in a car and on to the doctor. He gave me a quick X-ray and spent the next morning fixing me up," he said.

Coaches are always into the statistics of the game, and the ones for Shimakonis are pretty impressive. There are four different breaks in his leg.

"Some pins, plates, some screws. I looked at the X-rays and I'm not going to look at them any more. It was quite a job really," he said.

His humor and his team are driving him through a pretty painful ordeal. But Shimakonis is ready to be back with them on the sidelines.

"If I didn't have cat-like reflexes, it could have been much worse. It's been overwhelming. The players stop by; they're texting me. They want me to be back quick and I want to, too. I'll be off my feet a few more days, then PT. Luckily, I'm 31 years of age so I can recover pretty quick," Shimakonis said.

It's fair to say he earned the Athlete of the Week honors the hard way.

Palmetto Christian plays at Bible Baptist in Savannah{}Friday night. Shimakonis says he can't handle the two-hour car ride with his leg, but will be back on the sidelines when the team returns home.