SYCAMORE TOWNSHIP, Ohio — When the state champion Moeller High School volleyball team is recognized at Great American Ball Park field tonight, the Crusaders will be thinking of Brandon Wong.
Wong, a rising senior, is resting at home while recovering from a serious head injury called a brain bleed that he suffered while participating in the USA Volleyball Boys Junior National Championship in Kansas City earlier this month.
"The bleed has improved to the point where he's been cleared from the hospital but is still undergoing a long recovery process as a result of having a concussion, a brain injury," Moeller volleyball coach Lee Meyer said.
"So, at this point, we're just praying for him and hoping and helping and aiding in his recovery as best we can."
Wong, a defensive specialist, was a contributor on the Crusaders' Division I state title team in early June. The Reds will recognize the Moeller volleyball team prior to tonight's game against the New York Mets.
"We're going to be making sure we record the recognition tonight, so that is something we can send on to him," Meyer said. "It's something he would've been a part of if he were not recovering from this injury. We always do our best to make sure that members of our team that can't be at these recognition ceremonies still feel a part of it. So tonight is no special exception to that."
Wong, a member of the Cincinnati Attack club team, is a leader in Moeller's senior class and friend to everyone in the program.
Moeller senior Josh Carter, a club volleyball and high school teammate, said Wong made him feel welcome to the Moeller community after Carter transferred from a school in Toronto, Ontario, last year.
"He is a quiet guy in the classroom, but when you actually get to know him, he is just so joyful and funny," Carter said.
Moeller 2021 graduate JJ Beckelhimer said Wong exemplified the Crusaders' work ethic and dedication this past spring during the state championship journey.
"He worked harder than anyone and was a vital part of our team," Beckelhimer said.
"When anything like this happens to our Moeller volleyball family, everyone comes closer together in support of those affected. This is no different."
Moeller 2021 graduate Alex Davy said Wong cares for his teammates beyond the volleyball court, too.
"When I reached out to him personally to wish him well on his recovery and check up on him, he responded by saying how much being on the team with me meant to him and he actually congratulated me about my college acceptance and wished me luck on my journey into the next chapter of my life," he said. "That just shows how supportive and selfless he is as a friend. Even when he's injured and struggling, he still had the thought to ask me about my life and future and wish me well."
Meyer said the Moeller volleyball program has joined together in prayer in other times of need for those connected to the team in the past few years.
The team is asking for thoughts and prayers from the extended community around Greater Cincinnati for Wong.
"Seeing the power of faith and the power of prayer just within this last year with all the other things that we've experienced just in this short one-year season, we know that it's strong; we know that it has a healing effect," Meyer said.
"We know that it's only going to quicken Brandon's recovery over these next couple days and weeks."