Craig Turnbull nearly was done, and not just with the day's outing. As they approached the intersection at the top of that hill in southwestern Pennsylvania, a truck blocked Turnbull's vision, and also blocked the vision of an approaching van. "The van hit me going 30 or 35 miles an hour," Turnbull recounted. "I shattered its windshield."
Greg Jones, he of the lightning reflexes so frequently tested on the wrestling mat, swung into action, possibly saving the life of his coach and mentor. "Greg called 911, then called my son [redshirt freshman Kyle Turnbull], and said, ‘Listen closely. Your dad's going to be ok. Get your mother and sister and meet us at the hospital.' The ambulance crew was trying to decide whether to life flight me or not. I was in and out of consciousness. The one thing I do distinctly remember was, in the ambulance, asking Greg whether me getting hit by the van instead of him meant that I was ahead in our bike race. Greg responded that we were shoulder to shoulder, but his reflexes were better."
Turnbull broke his jawbone and suffered lacerations down the right side of his body, beginning with his ear and neck, which still bear the scars of the dramatic confrontation. A CT scan showed two small areas of bleeding in his brain when he arrived at Morgantown's Ruby Memorial Hospital, but they healed up overnight.
"My balance and vision were not quite normal for a week and a half or so after the accident, but I was up and walking very soon, and went back to work on the Tuesday following the Friday this all happened. I came out as fortunate as I could," he stated.
Doctors told Sue Turnbull, the coach's wife, that if her husband hadn't been in such fine physical condition, he would not have survived the accident. "I think it's more luck," he said. "I just bounced right. I'll take some luck." Turnbull returned to playing racquetball within two weeks of his encounter with the vehicle.
"We're good," he concluded. And he wasn't referring merely to the state of the WVU wrestling program, but to his overall state of health following his strong recovery from the near-fatal crash.