It wasn’t long after Marc Hutchings walked into the lobby of the Brewer High School gymnasium Thursday evening that his teammates began to notice.
Brothers Mikey Raye and Andy Raye saw the 6-foot, 5-inch senior center for the Hampden Academy boys basketball team — eight days removed from a life-threatening pickup truck crash on outer Essex Street in Bangor — standing with friends looking remarkably healthy save for having his left arm in a sling and having lost weight since his hospitalization on Jan. 9.
The surprised looks on the Rayes’ faces were replaced almost instantaneously by huge smiles as they greeted their friend and teammate. It was a reunion of sorts that was repeated in similar fashion moments later when Hutchings joined the rest of the Broncos in the visitors’ locker room before their game against Brewer.
“We heard the (locker room) door open and we just thought it was coach (Russ Bartlett), and everybody got all quiet,” Hampden senior guard Kory Winch said. “Then he turned the corner and Marc was there and there was just this big wave of excitement.
“We talked to him a little about the recovery process and stuff, but we’re just glad to see him doing so well because the turnaround has been so quick and after an accident like that you’d expect him to be in a lot worse shape than he is.”
During the early morning hours of Jan. 9, the 18-year-old Hutchings had been sent out to do sanding work by the property management company he works for. His pickup truck skidded on ice at approximately 3 a.m., causing him to hit the utility pole near the intersection of Essex Street and Fox Hollow in Bangor.
The Glenburn resident was taken to the Intensive Care Unit at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center with injuries that included a broken pelvis, broken clavicle and several broken ribs.
“It doesn’t feel real to go from that to this in seven days,” Hutchings, who was released from the hospital Wednesday, said. “But if it happens, it happens so I might as well be here.”
Hutchings sat on the Hampden bench throughout the game, which the Broncos won 62-46 to improve their record to 10-2.
“Marc sent me a text and said, ‘I feel really good, is it OK if I come?’” Bartlett said. “I said, ‘absolutely, if you think you’re up to it.’
“I expected to probably see him on Monday but he made it here tonight. It was a nice lift for everybody and I think it was a nice lift for him, too, to get back into the routine a little bit.”
Hutchings admitted feeling some competitive adrenaline as he sat among his teammates during the game.
“It was pretty special to be out of the hospital and back with the guys to share this win with them,” Hutchings said. “Hopefully they can carry on the wins throughout the season and finish up strong.
“I can’t stand sitting on the bench, I just want to be out there, but it’s good see that they’re out there taking care of business.”