Exclusive! Colorado State Football Player Who Crashed Into Tot Tells Story

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," April 25, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: A big cable news exclusive interview for you now, many of you have seen the video. I have seen it several times and it is still hard for me to watch. A toddler getting tackled in the end zone at a college football practice game this weekend. Four-year-old Caden Thomas was among several kids playing on the sidelines as part of a kid's festival at Colorado State's football stadium Saturday. He wandered off and found himself between that padded concrete wall and a 185 pound wide receiver trying to catch a touchdown pass.


CADEN THOMAS, TACKLED TOT: It was kind of scary because I got bumped, by this football.

HOLLY THOMAS, MOTHER OF TACKLED TOT: You turn your head to look on one child and here goes the other child. I mean it happens to every parent and you know, you don't have eyes on all sides of your head.


GIBSON: Thankfully, the little boy is ok. The cut on his head might hurt a little bit, but it could have been a whole lot worse. With me now for the first time on cable TV to tell his story is George Hill, the quick thinking player who crashed into that little boy. George, I know — it wasn't your fault, you didn't know. But it must've been a shock to look and say I'm on top of a kid.


GIBSON: What did you think when you — how did this kid get here?

HILL: The first thing that came to my mind was — when I first caught the ball, like I saw him, and then, I don't know, my instincts just kicked in and I just hit him. And the first thing that came to my mind, because I have a two year old daughter and — was just picking that kid up and just like, it could have been her.

GIBSON: I saw you move your shoulder off him as best you could and then you roll over holding the child on top of you. What were you thinking — look at this kid?

HILL: When I went to grab him that was the first — because I tried not to pin him against the wall, so I just tried to roll my body more into the wall just to turn him over, so I got more of the impact instead of him.

GIBSON: Now he is ok. But the conventional wisdom is that you're actually a little more shook up than the little kid.

HILL: Oh yeah, because that was the first thing, like I said, my daughter came to my mind, it was just — I felt just how the parents are feeling, just really freaked out about it.

GIBSON: Did you say to somebody afterwards, by the way, how did a kid get on the field?

HILL: No, when the trainers were talking to me they kept making sure my neck was all right, if I could move my feet. But I just kept asking them, is the kid all right, is the kid all right.

GIBSON: When you play in these kind of close confines you expect maybe you're going to hit a photographer on the side of the field or you're going to hit one of those people that are carrying the chains or a referee or somebody. It's not a completely unexpected thing to go crashing into someone, is it?

HILL: No, not really.

GIBSON: But a four year-old?

HILL: Yeah, it's kind of scary.

GIBSON: Especially when he comes up bleeding.

HILL: Yeah, it could have been a lot worse, like they say, it could have been a lot worse.

GIBSON: When you talk to the parents, what did they tell you?

HILL: They just told me thank you for all I tried to do for their kid.

GIBSON: Did they offer you an explanation on how could a little boy manage to get away from them? I mean, what you see over here is you roll over with the little boy in your arms and then the father is right there and he's talking to the kid immediately, who's crying. What did you hear, you're eavesdropping in on that.

HILL: Really, right when I hand the kid over to the referee, I couldn't hear, I just blanked out really just in total shock.

GIBSON: What do you think about the fact he seems to be just fine?

HILL: That's great it's a blessing for both of us actually.

GIBSON: Does that strike you as a little kid who's going to be a football player?

HILL: At least this time he'll wear a helmet.


GIBSON: I'm glad he can take a hit pretty good. George Hill, good luck. Sorry you got into that thing, but you did good and thanks for coming in to talk to us.

HILL: Thank you.

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