A well-timed shot of hope for Cory Mackay

CORY MACKAY

A FEW WEEKS ago, Cory Mackay's father said, Cory, the former Cougar DE paralyzed in a one-car accident last year, became so depressed after spring football began at WSU that he returned home, at least temporarily. It was soon after leaving Pullman, however, that Cory was provided a well-timed shot of new hope.

One year ago, Cory Mackay was a ferocious defensive end, a pass-rushing terror threatening in spring ball to crack Washington State's starting lineup as a redshirt freshman.

So much has changed in Mackay's life since he fell asleep at the wheel and rolled his pickup truck west of Washtucna while heading home to Redmond after final exams last May. He remains wheelchair-bound but determined to walk again. And perhaps when he needed it most, just a few days ago, something big happened.

"He got the rest of his stomach muscles back the other day," Don Redmond said Wednesday. "Also, he got some of his lower back muscles back."

Asked if these developments could be a sign that Cory will walk again, Don said, "We feel it is, because normally, you don't get anything back this soon.

"We're just waiting for him to say his leg is hurting or his foot is hurting. Usually, there's pain when you first get feeling back…We're very hopeful."

CORY WAS SHOOTING baskets at a Redmond park when he noticed he could flex his stomach muscles. His lower back muscles showed renewed life a few days later, Don said, and the timing could not have been better.

"It's not easy for him," Don said. "It's not easy to be brave.

"He went through a period when (spring) football got going -- you get some bitterness and unhappiness. All the things you've been working for are kind of going out the window."

Cory, who took on-line classes while living at home last year, moved back to Pullman in January to take classes on campus. Cory did not respond to an interview request, but Don said his son is not certain if he will return to Pullman this semester. Cory was living on his own in an apartment that was not ideally suited for wheelchairs, Don said.

Regardless of his living arrangements, Don said his son is highly encouraged about his recent progress physically.

Cory, it seems, has new confidence in what medical personnel have been telling him. "He said, ‘I thought everyone was just being nice to me,'" Don said. "Now that I've actually seen it (progress), I believe."

For those seeking information on how to donate to the Cory Mackay fund, click HERE.

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