Connor Fields not sure if his brain will let him roll again
“I remember your dad calling me, Connor, and he got a call from someone there,” Gruninger said, recounting part of the episode Fields hadn’t heard. He said, ‘Connor isn’t breathing. They must have created an airway for him. And then your father says, ‘Wait, they’re calling back. I have to go.'”
In Tokyo, Dr Finnoff was in the Olympic Village when messages arrived.
“When I saw the accident on TV my first thought was, oh, my God, he not only stuck his head in the asphalt, but I wonder if he broke his neck, and is now quadriplegic, ”Dr. Finnoff mentioned. “Finding out that he didn’t have a broken neck and that he was moving his arms and legs was really great news.”
Dr. Finnoff met Fields in the emergency room at St. Luke International Hospital.
“I basically had to scream to make him open his eyes,” Dr Finnoff said. “I could get him to say his name, but almost immediately he closed his eyes. He didn’t know exactly what was going on. He didn’t know where he was. He couldn’t tell me anything.
Having a response was a good sign, Dr Finnoff said. A CT scan and an MRI assessed the damage. Dr Finnoff was relieved to learn that there was no internal bleeding beyond the brain. Fields had a broken rib and bruised lung, as well as severe scrapes and bruises.
“There are so many other things he could have had,” said Dr Finnoff.
For Gruninger, the first few days were stressful. She tried not to think of the worst: death, paralysis, permanent brain damage.
It was three days after the sinking when his phone rang, saying Connor Fields wanted FaceTime. She didn’t know what to expect. She found him looking at her.
“I could tell you were groggy and tired,” Gruninger told Fields in their kitchen. “But I could also say that you were you.”