Clipped From Statesman Journal

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 - Now he contemplates life as one of By CONNIE...
Now he contemplates life as one of By CONNIE WHITAKER statesman journal Sports LEBANON - A week ago Rob Pepperling was lying in a hospital bed, contemplating life as a cripple. The night before, he had broken the sixth vertebra in his neck during the Lebanon-South Salem football game. The injury had caused temporary paralysis of his right arm, and at first doctors worried that the paralysis might be permanent. But today Pepperling's number one concern is staying fit enough during a three-month convalescence so that he can play at least the last part of the coming basketball season. PEPPERLING, 16, IS one of the lucky ones. He realized just how lucky after receiving a get-well card from a Salem woman. She told how one of her relatives had suffered permanent paralysis after breaking the fifth and sixth vertebras in his neck. Still, about the time the feeling in Pepperling's arm returned the morning after the injury, so did Pepperling's feelings for playing football. , . "I WOULD JUST LOVE to take this (brace) off," Pepperling said, "and go play right now. the lucky "I'm sure I'll be a little shy and cautious," he admitted, "but that's to be expected." His mother, Jean Pepperling, isn't quite as eager, but she says she's resigned to the fact that her son the tight end will play football again next season. "You can't run your kids' lives," she explained. "If I thought of myself, I would say 'forget it kid because I don't want the agony of all this. But then I'd be thinking only of myself." HER SON IS DETERMINED to be well enough to help the Warriors basketball team earn a return trip to the state tournament. At 6-4, 175 pounds, he figures he can be a big help. Until he can play, he's arranged to be manager of the team. Anything to stay involved. Pepperling got almost too involved the night of his injury. He remembers trying to catch a pass from teammate Richard Henderson. Three South Salem defenders were trying to stop him, and he smacked head-to-head with one of them. Pepperling fell to the ground and didn't get up. And his mother felt her heart stop. "It scares you, yes," she said. VYou get this terrible, creepy feeling all over." bne tried not to panic, remembering P ones a promise she made to her son last year. PEPPERLING HAD BEEN knocked unconscious during a junior varsity game against Sprague. Mrs. Pepperling jumped a fence to race down to the field and created quite a ruckus. "I must admit I got a little bit hysterical out there when he didn't know us.'V she recalled with an embarassed grin, "AH the kids teased him about it after, the game and he made me promise I'd never do that again." She was better Friday night, at least until she realized just how seriously her son was injured. Then she got so excited that she ran off and left her other son, 12-year-old Bill, in the bleachers while she rode to the hospital in the ambulance. - A coach's wife later brought Bill to the hospital. THE FAMILY SPENT a long night at Salem Memorial Hospital, made easier by the presence of concerned friends. Several South Salem parents stopped by and offered help and condolescences. So did Lebanon parents and coaches. Mrs. Pepperling is especially grateful to Lebanon coach Gary Yates for pre- venting her son from moving after first suffering the injury. Doctors later told uurnio f E.rrfcKLING, Page 3D)

Clipped from
  1. Statesman Journal,
  2. 22 Oct 1978, Sun,
  3. Other Editions,
  4. Page 4

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