Kelly and I interviewed Ed Kelly, the AT who was present at the time of Cole’s injury. We met him at Lynah rink and set up in the alumni room. The acoustics, lighting and placement were good for the interview and we had an interesting mural of the history of Cornell’s ice hockey teams as the background.
He discussed how he made the diagnosis he did and what led him to misdiagnose the injury. Cole was not complaining of any neck pain, headaches, or concussion like symptoms which was unusual given the injury. Kelly made the decision to let him continue playing.
He discussed how he looked back at the moment with fear but strongly believes there was nothing indicating such a serious injury. Kelly went on to talk about his relationship to the athletes he works with and how he feels an almost paternal, caretaker role with them as it is his job to make sure they are safe to play. He discussed how Cole is anxious to be back on the ice and that the slow therapy and healing process is hard for someone like Cole with so much energy and ambition. Kelly must be strict with him and make sure Cole is being as smart and careful as possible.
Kelly discussed how athletes at a D1 level, especially with hockey, have the chance to play at a professional level and that makes them sometimes have a tunnel vision perspective. They will overlook life-threatening injuries because their passion for the sport trumps all else. He said it may not always be the smartest approach but it is the fact of the matter. with Cole, he feels that with the right therapy and transition back, there is no reason why he won’t be able to play again.
Kelly feels that Cole was lucky with his injury. It was unusual for a neck injury and it was fractured in a way that will not require any intensive recovery (such as surgery).
The interview was very interesting. It provided a lot of information but color as well. The best was the relationship Kelly described to his athletes and the passion that comes with hockey. It will be great for our documentary.