FORT MITCHELL, Ky. (FOX 56) – Summertime is full of summer camps for young athletes getting a chance to learn from the current stars. Central Kentucky holds a ton of football camps over the summer but Saturday’s camp felt much larger.
The story of Chris Oats is an impactful one, a former Kentucky linebacker who suffered a career-ending stroke back in 2020. He’s been rehabbing over the last few months down in Florida, attempting to try and walk again after doctors told his family after the stroke that he had a 1% chance of surviving.
The Chris Oats Football Camp was held on Saturday at Beechwood High School in Fort Mitchell, raising money for his medical bills and for the Chris Oats Foundation, which helps families of young stroke victims. Over a dozen current Kentucky football players came to sign autographs and help run the camp.
“Well football is always going to be in him, whether he’s playing or coaching or just being around the game,” Oats’ mother Kem Gamble said. “Christopher has always been a big kid from Pee-Wee league all the way up to high school he just never missed a practice, so when they told Christopher he had a 1% chance that’s all we needed and look at him he’s doing amazing.”
UK senior linebacker DeAndre Square was also in attendance, who got emotional this week at SEC Media Days talking about Oats and his recovery. Square and Oats entered the program together as freshmen back in 2018.
“These camps are usually about the kids but I mean this is about Chris and his family first and foremost, and then the kids,” Kentucky starting quarterback Will Levis said. “It’s great to come out here and have some fun and make it towards a great cause, he’s already exceeded expectations but I know that he’s got much higher goals and we’re completely confident that he’s gonna reach those goals.”
Kids in grades 1-12 participated in the camp, running drills with over a dozen Kentucky players.