David Cutcliffe on Casey Holman's Fast Recovery From Neck Injury


Duke had a scary moment in the loss to Syracuse two weeks ago. Redshirt freshman left tackle Casey Holman went down with an apparent neck injury and was motionless on the field for several minutes, before being carted off on a stretcher.

Holman’s tests were all positive, however, and not only is he feeling fine, but he started last week’s game at Wake Forest.

Coach David Cutcliffe talke about Holman’s progress, starting with the night of the Syracuse game.

“I talked to his mom and dad that night, in the middle of the night. I talked to him briefly. He was in good spirits and you know surprisingly felt good,” he said. “So, the next day when Doc looked at him, he was very pleased. On Monday, all the rehab, all the work – everything ended up being muscular. Once you can regain strength—they're not just going to put anybody out there—you got to have full strength and full range of motion you know with your neck. He wasn't there Tuesday, so we didn't practice him Tuesday. But by Wednesday, he was at full strength and full range of motion. So, he was able to practice. He was all excited.”

It seems surprising that he was able to return so quickly, but since he had no bone, joint or nerve damage, there was no reason to hold him out.

“It wasn’t—quote—a dangerous thing,” Cutcliffe said. “What he felt and anybody that's ever played feels it, it's not pleasant when that nerve rips down your body and you know you pinched a nerve at some degree, you do lose feeling. I told ya'll the encouraging thing for me, because I've been around it a long time, was when I saw him scratch his nose when it itched. That's a good sign. Number one, that you can even feel your nose itch. Number two, they were trying to tell him not to move and he was (wiping at his nose). I felt pretty decent there and I'm no doctor so I've listened to them, but that did encourage me, you know. You ever have a stinger? They hurt, don't they? If they're really bad they don't feel good. It is almost like paralysis. I dislocated my jaw and it got stuck and a nerve went all the way down. I could see my jaw hanging. You’re not supposed to get hit like that, but I was too slow. They did a CAT scan for something else a couple years ago and said, ‘There’s something wrong with your jaw. You don’t have any cartilage or anything.’ I said, ‘I know.’”