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Question of the Day
Seeing his friend adapt has made Ripper realize that things will only get better.
“He’s the last person I ever would have wanted this to happen to, but if I had to pick one person that I know could get through it, it would be him just because he’s going to work hard to do rehab, work hard to get used to whatever has changed,” he said, noting that he and Rainey spent a good deal of time together over the summer, working to get ready for the football season.
Rainey had 4.6 speed in the 40, and “a cannon for an arm,” Ripper said. Rainey was on the recruiting radar of several major schools, and this season was going to be important. He had drawn the attention of college recruiters, who were likely going to watch him closer this season to determine if he was a BCS-level prospect.
Rainey had told Ripper and another teammate, Greg McIntosh, that amputation would be necessary via text message the night before his operation. The football team was on a bus back to campus after a season-opening victory against Benedictine in Richmond.
McIntosh was stunned by the message, and went and found Ripper on the bus.
Back at school, coach Clint Alexander gathered the team in the gym and told them all.
“It was very emotional,” Ripper said. “Most people were broken down and just sobbing and everyone else was just consoling those people. It was a pretty mournful time for everybody.”
Suddenly, that narrow 16-13 opening victory meant little.
“Just everything stops,” McIntosh said. “I just didn’t think that that was something that could actually happen. I just felt that sinking feeling in my heart.”
Rainey’s recollections of his week in the hospital before the surgery are fuzzy, but there are some things he recalls.
“The doctors told me a couple times that I wasn’t going to get amputated, so I was feeling pretty good until Friday,” the athletic 6-foot-3, 215-pound Rainey said. “I don’t remember a lot, but I just remember them telling me it was going to get amputated and I was just like, `All right, well, that sucks.’”
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