Varsity Kansas

Northwest wrestler Kaleb Ball's prognosis good after four-hour surgery

By Joanna Chadwick

The Wichita Eagle

Northwest freshman Kaleb Ball, a 130-pound wrestler, was injured during a match at Saturday's City League wrestling meet. He underwent a four-hour surgical procedure later that night at Via Christi St. Francis and is fine, thanks to the quick reaction of athletic trainer Todd Rinehart.

"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 was in physical therapy this morning, Means said.

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

Rinehart’s reaction was key.

"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.

Rinehart deals with plenty of ankle sprains, cuts, bruised muscles and the like. But a situation such as Ball's is why he is there.

"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.