Haskell Garrett has previously been relatively reluctant to share details of the 2020 incident where he was shot in the face, leaving him with a bullet wound through his cheeks.
But the week leading up to the draft, where Garrett is projected to be selected and begin his NFL career, the former Ohio State defensive tackle finally opened up about the incident, sharing details and recounting the events the best he can.
"I wasn't going to let something like this distract me or get me off course from what was destined for me, and that was to be the starting DT at @ohiostatefb."— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) April 26, 2022
The story of how @HaskellGarrett returned to the field after a life threatening incident is inspiring. (via @gmfb) pic.twitter.com/IJyl2z9FYj
In an appearance on NFL Network's "Good Morning Football," Garrett shared that on the night of the incident, he was on his way to get his phone from his car after a late-night hang out with his teammates when he saw a man and a woman arguing across the street.
Garrett initially intended to walk past and ignore the interaction, until he saw the man hit the woman.
"I saw another man hit a woman," Garrett remembers. "And one of our core values at The Ohio State is Title IX – respect women. So immediately, my instincts are to go help that woman."
Garrett intervened and pushed the man away from her. When he looked back at the man, he said "everything just went black."
"The next thing I knew, I was picking myself up in a puddle of blood," Garrett said. "I didn't have my phone. It was either lay here and die, or run back to the apartment and get help from Pete (Werner), my roommate."
Garrett told ESPN he was spitting out blood the entire walk home so he wouldn't choke on it, then pounded on his apartment door until Werner came to answer.
POLICE WHO WERE called to the scene arrived to find an empty street -- the man and woman having fled; Garrett having rushed back home -- so they followed the bloody trail Garrett had left from the intersection of Chittenden and Grant avenues to his apartment a few blocks away. He rode to the hospital in an ambulance, crying the whole way, praying the whole way. Please be OK. Please just let me be OK. Please. He went to the ICU. He recounted what happened to the police. I thought I was doing the right thing. He waited for his mom to arrive. He was wheeled into surgery the next day, to close his wounds. He lost five teeth, but the bullet went in one cheek out and out the other -- a through and through, he'd come to learn it was called -- without hitting bone, without even hitting his tongue, and he was discharged by Monday.
From there, Garrett made a recovery that was nothing short of incredible. Garrett went through several surgeries, had some dental work done and some bone grafts, but within two months, he was playing in the 'Shoe and recorded his first collegiate sack.
"I wasn't about to let something like this distract me or get me off course from something that was destined for me, and that was to be a starting defensive tackle for The Ohio State," Garrett said. "So I was more determined than ever."