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September 7, 2012

Foot injury turns Cooper into anxious spectator

Call it unlucky, call it bad timing. Kyle Cooper, the redshirt junior linebacker from Hurricane, West Virginia doesn't care. He just wants to play football.

"I know we've only had one game so far, but it kills to have to sit there and just watch. I want to be out there with my teammates. I know I can help us in so many ways, especially leadership," Cooper said.

The linebacker suffered a stress fracture in his right foot during training camp, and is set to be out until mid-October as he heals.

"I didn't want to get an x-ray, I knew it was serious, I couldn't even run," he said. "The whole situation was so disappointing and distasteful. You work hard all summer to get prepared and get in shape for the long season, and then something like that comes up."

This isn't the first time Cooper has dealt with such a blow, and that past experience has helped him deal with this current setback, but has also added to the frustration.

"When I dislocated my elbow my sophomore year, I had to work my way back, and go through a lot of rehab," he said.

Cooper missed the entire season that year, and didn't resume football activities until the following spring. He noted that while the experience has helped, this injury is much different. When Cooper went through the elbow injury, it wasn't as mentally frustrating because he knew he wasn't going to be a major part of the starting defense.

"There were so many great seniors in front of me, there wasn't a rush to get back," he said. "This season is different, I feel I am a leader, and it eats me up not being out there."

One person that helped Cooper through this tough injury is his roommate, best friend, and fellow defensive leader Nolan Nearhoof.

"He's the man," Cooper said. "He went through a tough injury himself so he knows where I'm coming from. He also knows how frustrating it is for me to have another setback and he is always there to pick me up."

Cooper went though successful surgery, and hopes to start rehab in the next few days.

"I'd love to get back for the game at Saint Francis PA (October, 06), but realistically I'm shooting for the game at Bryant the following week," Cooper said.

Cooper hopes to start running in late September to get his conditioning back, but in the meantime is helping in any way possible.

"One thing I know I can help with now is film," Cooper said. "I've worked hard with Mike Neilson and Mike Cook, and it also helps me stay mentally sharp."

Cooper went on to say that, "everything happens for a reason, and I look to get back for the thick of NEC play. All these tough breaks will just make the return even sweeter."

If he can get back by the game at Bryant, he will have only missed two conference games, and could provide the punch the Colonials' defense needs to reach their high expectations. Cooper doesn't want a lucky break, or anything handed to him when he gets back, he just wants to get out on the field and play football.



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