Sports injury leads to new classroom development


Caroline Cooney

Senior Michael Cooper watches the Homecoming Game against Boys’ Latin from the sidelines. Ever since Cooper broke his femur during the football game against Calvert Hall on Sept. 2, he has been out for the season and has attended class via Skype.

He goes barreling over the sidelines with the ball still in his hands. He can see the streak of red still following him, and he tries to get away. People seem to blur by him, but he comes to a sudden halt. His cleats catch underneath him, and he feels a blinding pain pierce through his leg.

Cooper broke his femur at the joint of the knee while playing in the home football game against Calvert Hall on Sept. 2. According to his teammate, senior Max Moxey, the play was a late hit. “[Cooper] was out of bounds when his cleats got caught underneath him. He got hit, and his leg just broke,” Moxey said.

Senior Julianna Richard, a close friend and spectator at the game, saw three athletic trainers come to assist Cooper, but after a long time on the ground, they began to walk him off the field. “You could tell by the way he was walking that he was hurt. He was dragging his leg behind him, and then two other football players came and helped get him off,” Richard said.

Cooper had to be carried to the JC sideline and was taken to the emergency room immediately following the game.

After spending a week in the hospital, Cooper began to understand the long recovery that was in store for him. He will not be able to bear weight on his leg for three months. “Even after then, I will have to wait another month or two until I can fully walk again,” Cooper said.  “It’s a painful struggle and the hardest thing to do.”

Now, sitting on the sidelines has become Cooper’s pastime. Cooper sat out last season due to a shoulder injury and was excited to finally start playing football again. “I think he’s tired of getting hurt,” Richard said.

While missing school might seem like paradise to the average student, Cooper knew that keeping up with his school work would be difficult. Since he takes several honors and AP classes, he realized that missing seven to eight weeks of school was not an option, but neither was being in school. That was when a solution presented itself.

It was when Richard was collecting homework for Cooper that physics teacher Anthony Davidson came up with a novel suggestion: to attend class via Skype. Cooper is the first JC student to Skype into his classes. “It’s a new and cool experience to be the first one to do it,” Cooper said.

Math teacher Robert Torres has taken to using Skype regularly during Cooper’s AP Probability and Statistics class. “We Skype by just setting up the computer in the front so he can see the smart board and me. I check to make sure he is following regularly. For the most part, he is just watching,” Torres said.

Torres explained how the use of Skype has made the class a little different by having to take extra time to set up the computer, but they have adapted to the change. “[The class] seems glad that he’s able to do it under the circumstances,” Torres said.

According to AP Probability and Statistics student senior Brooke Hare, Cooper’s Skyping has not interrupted the class, but there have been issues with the computer losing connection and “his coming and going,” Hare said. Overall though, Hare was enthusiastic about the opportunity that it presented to students: “Skyping allows [these students] to not fall behind in class assignments and learn the material that they would otherwise be missing.”

Religion teacher Barry Zavislan also uses Skype in Cooper’s Social Justice class. “I think this is an elegant solution to include and engage with students who are subject to long term lengthy absences,” Zavislan said.

In Social Justice, Cooper not only listens to lessons, but also is able to participate in class activities. “The other day he was placed in a small discussion group with a couple of students who were present,” Zavislan said.

Cooper enjoys being able to engage in his classes in a new way. “Skyping in class allows me to be present like everyone else and still learn the material while being at home,” Cooper said.

Skyping is not the only way that Cooper has been keeping up with classes however. As with any new technological idea, there are always some difficulties, and while some teachers are more inclined to work around these glitches, others would prefer a more reliable solution.

Math teacher George Appleby has taken to personally tutoring Cooper for AP Calculus AB. “Mr. Appleby has helped me in every way possible,” Cooper said. “He also makes sure that I know the material before moving on to a new topic.”

Cooper has not only received help from teachers, but also from friends, teammates, and coaches. “The JC community has helped me so much,” Cooper said. Cooper’s friends and teammates send him in-class notes and assist him with homework. Football coach Keith Rawlings has even gone to Cooper’s house to check up on him to make sure he is recovering well.

I would like to thank the JC community for helping me through my recovery.

— Michael Cooper

Along with this help, Cooper comes into school a couple times a week to pick up work and meet with teachers. Cooper plans to return to school permanently in late October.

According to Cooper, his recovery might be a long journey, but he could not ask for better friends, teammates, or coaches to help support him along the way. “I would like to thank the JC community for helping me through my recovery,” Cooper said.

Emily Stancliff is a Sports Editor and Christina Giovanazi is a Community Editor for The Patriot and