High School Sports

NW wrestler recovering after surgery on vertebra

Northwest freshman Kaleb Ball, a 130-pound wrestler, was injured during a match at Saturday's City League wrestling meet and is recovering after a four-hour surgery on his vertebra.

"It sounds like they were down on the mat wrestling, and his neck got twisted wrong," Northwest athletic director J. Means said Sunday. "It dislocated the C4 (vertebra)."

Ball underwent a four-hour surgical procedure Saturday night at Via Christi on St. Francis and was in physical therapy Sunday morning, Means said.

"His prognosis looks good and he should be 100 percent," said Means, who visited Ball on Sunday.

Means said quick reaction by Todd Rinehart, an athletic trainer at Heights, was helpful.

"The first thing I did was just go out there and ask him where he had pain," Rinehart said. "As soon as he said it was his neck, I stabilized his head and went through basic questions and started to get a feel of just how bad it was. Pretty quickly I realized it was something that we needed to call EMS."

The worst-case scenario is paralysis.

"Obviously you're not going to see that stuff every single day, but I walk through those doors every day thinking I need to be prepared for something like that," Rinehart said.