Katie Copple

Wreaking Havoc Since 1992

Feature Article Final


It’s Not Over Yet

481035_10151112797485194_1517964226_nHe is a senior in high school and he has already had two different surgeries. By freshman year, his basketball career was over. When sophomore year hit, he thought his dreams of playing baseball in college were gone. Sports injuries could have kept Kyle Copple from playing the sport he loves, but thanks to some very talented doctors and determination of his own, he is back on the field and better than ever.

Kyle’s passion is baseball. He plays it almost year round between legion, school ball and off season workouts. When he was injured playing Church League Softball two years ago, he thought his baseball playing days were over, but determination and a lot of hard work got him back out on the field.

Playing first base for his Church’s Softball team, he ran to home plate to get the opponent out, and then it all went wrong.

“He just hit my shoulder. Completely ran into it and it popped out,” he says with a cringe.

“I couldn’t even move it; it just hung there. Someone had to come and put it back into place.”

The look of worry and terror spread across his moms face when she saw this happen. “He had already went through one sports injury, I didn’t want him to go through another,” said Cheryl.

After meeting with the Athletic Trainer at school, Kyle did therapy and strength exercises and continued playing first base on his summer league team. He found himself struggling to play to his full potential and saw his coach’s disappointment. Even with all of the at home and at home therapy, his shoulder still wasn’t feeling 100 percent. And then it happened again.

“I was playing first base and my short stop threw the ball a little too high and I had to jump up and reach for it,” he mumbled, “and my shoulder popped out again.”

The sudden upward movement of his left arm, his catching arm, caused his already damaged shoulder to pop back out of place. Running off of the field, he couldn’t believe it was happening again.

“All I remember is the extreme pain, even worse than the first time. I knew it was worse and I knew that it wasn’t the last time I was going to have to go through it (the pain),” Kyle said.

Jerry, his father, chimes in. “Kyle is really tough; he doesn’t complain about much. So when I saw him run off the field with tears in his eyes, I knew it was bad.”

After talking with his high school’s Athletic Trainer, they both decided that it was time to see a doctor. Being through the process with a knee injury a few years earlier, Kyle knew what to expect going into that first appointment.

“I knew there was going to be a lot of moving and stretching and pulling and also a lot of pain,” he said, “but when I got in there, my doctor was a girl, and she was kind of hot.” That generated a laugh.

“I had to go through all of the usual exercises, raising my arms above my head and doing a bunch of things with my shoulder, it wasn’t very fun. Then she said I needed an MRI,” he said with a look of disgust crossing over his face.

“With the MRI, they insert a giant needle full of die into the area they want to look at, its really painful,” Cheryl said.

“It is not fun, at all,” Kyle says, “I have had it done three times now, once with my knee and twice with my shoulder.”

After getting the MRI results back, the news wasn’t what they wanted to hear. Kyle had torn many ligaments in his shoulder and also had a lot of muscle damage. He needed surgery and he was only halfway through the summer baseball season. His doctor did have good news though; he could finish out the season if he wanted to. He would have to be careful, and would have to go through therapy as well, and his shoulder could continue to pop out, but he could still play. Another factor that came into effect was that the longer he went without surgery, the longer the recovery period.

“I knew I had a tough decision to make. Do I keep playing and have surgery before school started or so I have surgery now and miss half of the season? I didn’t know what to do,” he said.

“I knew he had to finish out the rest of the season, I couldn’t see him just sitting on the bench,” Jerry said, “he isn’t content with just sitting and watching”

“I decided to finish out the season, I knew it was going to be a long recovery in the end but I hate sitting out,” Kyle proclaimed.

He finished out the rest of the season and multiple times, his shoulder popped out of place. Each time it happened, he subbed out, took the bench for a few played, iced it, then went back out. Each time knowing that more damage had been done.

By the end of the season, his shoulder was shot. After a second MRI and more doctors’ visits, surgery was scheduled and a long road to recovery was ahead. When the surgeons went in to repair the damaged tissue, they found something that hadn’t showed up on any scans, he had fractured his shoulder blade. It takes quite a hit to fracture a shoulder blade and add that to the amount of tissue damage he had, it was a long and stressful surgery.

“They had to put in like six spider-looking claws to hold his muscles and tendons and all of that in place,” Cheryl said, “the pictures they showed us were really gross.”

“When I came out of surgery, I got to go home right away,” Kyle said. “My entire arm was blue from the stuff they cleaned it with and it was still numb, it felt really funny and the brace was really bulky and uncomfortable.”

“The first few days after surgery, he couldn’t feel anything in his shoulder or even move his hand because it was so numb,” Jerry said, “it was so funny watching him try to pull off his IV bandage.”

Kyle’s recovery time lasted almost 9 months. Filled with painful therapy and lots of strengthening exercises, it was a long and grueling process. Now, over a year since his surgery, Kyle is gearing up for his senior season at South Sioux City High School and also planning on playing in college. His catching arm is better and stronger than ever and he is ready to hit the dirt.

This injury took a toll not only on Kyle, but on the family, both emotionally and financially. Kyle has five claw-like braces inside his shoulder holding muscle, tendon, and ligament to his bone. Each brace is worth $10,000. Add in doctor’s visits, MRI’s, therapy and the cost of the surgery, the amount is unbelievable.

‘Thankfully, insurance covers most of it,” Cheryl says, “but it is still a pretty large amount that we have to cover.”

One good thing has come out of this entire experience though, Kyle’s future career. By spending so much time with his doctors and therapists, Kyle now wants to pursue a career as Physician’s Assistant specializing in shoulders and hands. Kyle received the opportunity of a lifetime this summer during one of his routine visits to CNOS; the offer for an internship.

Kyle now spends his afternoon, 3-4 days a week, at CNOS in Dakota Dunes. He shadows his doctor and even gets to accompany her in surgery. He is getting a firsthand look at his future career and absolutely loves it.

“Being able to go into surgery with her and see what she does every day is such a cool opportunity,” he says with a smile. “It really helped me realize that this is what I want to go to school for, even though I know I will be in school for a very long time.”

He even said he got to participate in one of the surgeries. “I got to give someone a shot of something, it was a really confusing name, but it was right in the muscle during surgery and it was so cool,” he said.

For Kyle, this horrible injury led to some amazing experiences. He continues to play baseball and loves his internship. He is currently looking at Doane or Augustana for college in the fall and cannot wait to get a start on his future career. Baseball continues to be his main focus as winter workouts are in high gear. Going through this has taught him to work hard and to never give up. An injury may have slowed him down at first, but he is back on the field and better than ever.

Author: coppla04

Sophomore Mass Communications Major at Morningside College with a passion for all things NASCAR. Oh yeah, I met Danica Patrick :)

4 thoughts on “Feature Article Final

  1. Good description, I think it works really well. The quotes are good, and explain what happened. Explaining what happened to his shoulder, what they had to do for his MRI, etc. makes it easy to read and information on him. Good job!

  2. A lot of good quotes, during the story it was almost like he was telling what has happened. Over all it was a really good story.

  3. I like the central story, Katie, but so far it’s all “just” story. And there are lots of quotes.

    My suggestion would be to compress all “this” as much as possible, then bring in more of what Kyle and the family have learned. The introspection part. The moral of the story, so to speak. Determination. Pain. Love of the game. The marvels of modern medicine? What does he think now, looking back?

  4. On the final version: I like the story, Katie, though it might be more detailed than necessary. Focus the lead so the story is on Kyle’s determination, or how he has changed through this ordeal (both probably), rather than that he has recovered. You want to profile the person, not the events of the person’s life. In the end you handle the story, the sources, and the quotes, pretty well, but the details and chronology could use some pruning.

    Proofread: spelling, capitalization and unnecessary phrases.

    Keep challenging yourself with different styles of writing. See you next semester.

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