Dave Kuehl has seen three freak injuries during his 32 years as a high school football coach.
* Once a player’s ear slipped through the hole in his helmet and the top part of his ear was severed. It later was sewed back on.
* Earlier this year, a player’s shoulder blade was cracked in a shape which looked like a backward C.
* The third unusual injury was sustained recently by Maple Valley/Anthon-Oto (Mapleton, Iowa) freshman quarterback Ryan Dougherty during the first quarter of a JV game against Logan-Magnolia.
The 5-foot-7, 140-pounder had completed five of his first six passes, but the seventh was intercepted. He headed up field to attempt the tackle and met head-on with a blocker. Somehow he got his left hand tangled with the opponent’s face mask and the tip of his middle finger was severed just below the nail.
The pain didn't set in right away, according to Dougherty.
"My hand was so cold and pretty much numb," Dougherty said. "I looked down and it was just all bloody. They called an EMT and he wrapped it up.”
At a hospital in Onawa (22 miles away) doctors cleaned his finger and had to grind down a bone which was sticking out. The finger now is stitched and wrapped tightly, but his football season is over.
"He was back in school the next day,” Kuehl said proudly. “He’s a tough kid, plus his dad is the principal and his mother is a guidance counselor. He should be ready to play basketball (in November).”