After a traumatic throat and neck injury on Friday night during the boys basketball varsity contest, Chetopa High School senior Cadin Duggan came out of surgery Sunday morning breathing on his own.
“I’m a big believer in prayer,” said Chetopa Boys Basketball Head Coach Rick Aldridge. “There are moments where the surgeons just look up in disbelief and they can’t explain it, but Cadin is a fighter.”
The incident happened on Friday night in the boys varsity basketball game against Southeast-Cherokee High School at St. Paul High School as part of the St. Paul Mark Terlip Winter Classic.
Moments before the halftime buzzer, a loose ball occurred on the home side of Billy Fager Fieldhouse, where the first few rows of the bleachers have back supports for fans.
That’s when things took a turn for the worse.
“The ball was going out of bounds when Cadin lunged himself towards the ball. He was going so fast and unable to brace himself that his throat collided with the back of the seat, absorbing the impact,” recalled Aldridge. “The video is hard to watch.”
Duggan was immediately tended to on-site by Aldridge and Chetopa Activities Director, and girls basketball coach, Jaunc Bradshaw. Duggan walked back into the locker room where he was monitored for any further health issues. He was cleared to change into his street clothes and sat by Aldridge on the bench to start the second half.
“Cadin is a very special kid to me. We have been through a lot in these one and a half years.”
As the second half was about to begin, Aldridge noticed Duggan struggling.
“I noticed his arms began flailing. He was able to muster ‘Coach, I can’t breathe.'”
An ambulance was immediately called, Duggan was fitted with a neck brace, and he was taken to a local hospital where things progressed to get worse.
“Once he got to the hospital he was put on a ventilator to help him breathe. As he was about to be transferred by ambulance to Tulsa his heart stopped, crashed, and he was immediately lifeflighted.”
Once in Tulsa, Cadin was stabilized and doctors began X-rays to examine the extent of the damage. Saturday, X-Ray’s revealed that Duggan had a small fracture and tear in his Larynx.
On Sunday morning, he was out of surgery and breathing on his own. According to the Chetopa High School Boy’s Basketball Facebook Page, Doctors believe he will be able to heal without any further procedures.
“One of the first things that Cadin said to his mother when he came too was ‘So does this mean my season’s over?’ He’s just that type of competitor. That’s what sports means to him,” said Aldridge by phone.
Duggan was recently honored by Eastern Kansas Sports as Honorable Mention 8-Man II East Offense team. Also, various media outlets recognize Duggan as an honorable mention for All-State 8-Man II and “Top 100 Senior” in 8-Man football.
Fundraisers are currently being planned to help Cadin’s family with medical expenses. Follow Chetopa High School Boy’s Basketball Facebook page for more information. Eastern Kansas Sports will share via social media fundraising information from the family and school as well to help raise awareness about events.