May 26, 2011 in Washington Voices

After injury, NWC senior knows God has plan for him

By The Spokesman-Review
Christopher Anderson photoBuy this photo

Cole Ramey of Northwest Christian School sits under some of the banners saluting the athletic championships of the boys and girls teams.
(Full-size photo)

When Cole Ramey is on the basketball court with the State 2B champion Northwest Christian Crusaders, people notice. His red hair shines like a roadside flare and his lanky arms and legs churn in constant motion. But what many people don’t know is that Ramey considers every shot he sinks a miracle.

As a second-grader, Ramey attended his older brother’s basketball game at a local middle school. While waiting for his brother, Ramey and some friends clambered around some volleyball equipment. He climbed a few steps on the referee stand and reached for the volleyball net pole.

The next thing he remembers is being on the ground. As he’d fallen, the pole had shot through his right arm, shattering the bone above the elbow and severing an artery. “It cut off my arm 80 percent,” Ramey said. “The only thing holding my arm in place was a piece of skin and some tendons and veins.”

And that’s when Ramey said the miracles started happening. “My dad rushed over and tried to stop the bleeding, but the artery had shot back into my shoulder. I could have bled to death right there.”

Bystanders called 911 and rushed to help, “including the doctor who later did a six-hour surgery on my arm,” Ramey said.

When the ambulance arrived at Sacred Heart Medical Center, a vascular surgeon had just scrubbed up for a scheduled surgery. Instead, he operated on Ramey. Then the orthopedic surgeon, who’d assisted him at the school, performed the tedious task of piecing Ramey’s shattered arm together.

The active boy ended up with 300 stitches and two pins in his shooting arm and needed a blood transfusion. “They told me it was a miracle that they were able to save my arm,” Ramey said.

But what he really wanted to know was when he could shoot hoops again. His doctor told him that with some intense physical therapy, he might regain 70 percent function in his arm.

That wasn’t good enough for Ramey. He worked at physical therapy with the same diligence and determination he worked at perfecting his three-point shot, and eventually regained full use of his right arm.

“I don’t know what I’d do without basketball,” he said. “Sometimes I even dream about it!”

Northwest Christian School principal and varsity basketball coach Ray Ricks said he’s going to miss Ramey on campus next year. “Cole’s been fun to coach. He’s a talented athlete and a great, fun-loving kid.”

Ricks has also appreciated Ramey’s leadership both on and off the court. In addition to serving as team captain, he’s been part of the student-body leadership team. “Every single day he works with ASB filling the drink and candy machines. He makes the Costco runs. His servant-leadership piece is strong,” Ricks said. “He’s a good student.”

When asked what his favorite class is, Ramey laughed. “Weights!” he said. But he also took physics this year. “I really enjoyed it,” he said. “We made rockets.”

Ramey plans to attend George Fox University this fall. As he reflected over his time at Northwest Christian, he said the 6-inch scar on the inside of his arm serves as an important reminder. “Whenever I’m doubting, I remember how God was really with me there. He must have a plan for my life and a purpose for me.”

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