LEXINGTON, Ky. - Former Belfry three-sport star and current EKU football player Cameron Catron is in recovery at the University of Kentucky Hospital following a successful surgery on Monday after he was shot outside of a bar in downtown Lexington early Sunday morning.
According to a post on Facebook by Cameron's mother Kimberly Catron, her son was moved out of ICU into a regular room on Tuesday morning to start his recovery process and has already begun walking once again.
According to Lexington Police, Catron was shot by a male subject following a fight just after 1:30 a.m. outside of Two Keys Tavern, which is located right up the street from the campus of the University of Kentucky.
Catron was a three-sport athlete for the Pirates until he graduated in 2017 and he helped guide them to the Class AAA state championship all four years.
"Cameron is just an outstanding young man, just very special. You don't run across too many that are willing to put in the work necessary to really excel and get the most out of yourself," Belfry football coach Philip Haywood told the WDN. "He's one of those guys, he would show up at the morning workouts at 6 a.m. all year long whether it was football, basketball or baseball season and he would be out on the field running or up in the weight room. He did this all year and through the summer to make himself as good as he could be and he just had a great desire and a determination to be very good."
He finished his Belfry career on the gridiron with 1,588 rushing yards, 299 receiving yards, and 24 touchdowns on the offensive side to go with 261 career tackles, 10 interceptions, including one pick six, and five fumble recoveries defensively, and four touchdowns on special teams.
Following his career at Belfry, he took a preferred walk-on position at EKU initially as a defensive back, but made the switch over last season to slot receiver. According to current EKU teammate and former Belfry teammate RayQuan Horton, Catron was one of the most improved players since he stepped foot on campus.
"He's made the most progress of anybody I've seen since I've been up here," Horton said. "He's been a walk-on and worked as hard as or harder than anybody that's been on scholarship. He stayed in Richmond this summer and got an apartment so that he could work out with the team, which usually just the guys on scholarship do, but he just makes sacrifices like that. He's such a team guy."
Horton recalled days back in high school when the Pirates would not bring their "A-game" in a certain practice or game and No. 10 would be the first one to speak up and try and right the ship.
"Back when we won all those championships people like me, Cole (Bentley) and Austin (Dotson), got a lot of recognition but what people didn't see was there was a lot of time in practice when we would be struggling or have a little bit of a lazy streak and Cameron would be right there to pick everybody up and bring them together. I don't think we would have been much without Cameron, he was the leader of the team on both sides of the ball."
Coach Haywood, who is the all-time winningest coach in the history of Kentucky High School Football with 438 career wins and has led the Pirates to 12 state championship games and six state titles overall , agreed with Horton saying Catron was the glue on those state championship teams.
"He was a great leader on our team, he carried himself well and he knew he was going to work hard so he expected his teammates to do the same thing," Haywood said. "He was the kind of guy he didn't mind telling you about that either, if you wasn't meeting expectations. Now Cameron didn't speak often but when he spoke, whether it was an individual or a group of people everybody listened to what he had to say."
According to another post on Kimberly Catron's Facebook page the doctors at the UK Hospital told her that her son was near death when he had arrived at the hospital and had lost 14 pints of blood.
Although Haywood and Horton were both shocked once they initially heard the news they both knew if anybody could make it through this tough obstacle it would be Cameron.
"We were all real concerned when we first heard about this, I talked with his mother on Sunday, "coach Haywood said. "We've done what a lot of people have been doing. We've kept him in our prayers, lifted Cameron and his family up. It's going to be a long road but I think he is the type of young man who can work himself through this because of his great determination and passion for life."
"It's going to be a long recovery process, "Ray Horton said. "But he's built for it, if there's anybody in the world built for it its Cameron."
Jarrid McCormick is a sports reporter for the Williamson Daily News. He can be reached by email at jmccormick@HDMediaLLC.com.