MacKay's dad: Cory determined to get on feet

THE FATHER OF Washington State defensive end Cory Mackay said his son hopes to resume his football career "if possible" after undergoing surgery Friday to fuse two spinal fractures sustained in a horrible car accident Thursday evening.

"He hopes that; he plans that," Donald Mackay said in a telephone interview from his son's bedside Saturday morning at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Cory Mackay, a heralded freshman who redshirted last year, fell asleep early Thursday evening while driving home to Redmond from Pullman after final exams. Mackay's Nissan pickup truck flipped on its top after leaving State Highway 26 near Washtucna in southeastern Washington.

"He broke his back and had no other injuries except some minor scrapes in the foot and leg areas," Donald Mackay said. "They operated on him, and it was successful. There was minimal damage to the spinal cord."

Paralysis, at least initially, is not uncommon when a spinal injury takes place. Asked if his son has experienced any paralysis, Donald Mackay declined to go into specifics, but said Cory's spinal cord is "intact" and "he's planning to come back full if possible."

The elder Mackay added, "We're not accepting anything anybody says. We've been looking up cases of people not supposed to have any promise that did.

"We're going to go for it."

Donald Mackay said "at least 50" people came to Harborview on Friday to support Cory. Included were several coaches from Washington State and Eastlake High School, the Sammamish school where Mackay was an All-State performer. A switchboard operator said the hospital was inundated with calls about Mackay.

"He's determined he's going to be back on his feet in a minimum amount of time," Donald Mackay said.

Clarifying earlier reports, Donald Mackay said Cory's operation lasted three hours. Mr. Mackay said it appears Cory was indeed wearing a seat belt when he "fell asleep or shut his eyes" and left the road. Earlier reports about the seatbelt were unclear.

"He'd just finished finals and had very little sleep," the elder Mackay said.

Donald Mackay said medical personnel have been "preparing him (Cory) for the worst," but his son is "tough as nails" and ready to fight.

"He's got a good attitude," Mr. Mackay said. "It's most unfortunate. As a matter of fact, we're all still in shock.

"But he's going to try to get back. In fact, he's determined to come back."

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