The Boy Who Lived
By Griffin Johnson
Photo Courtesy of Dan Cochran
Three months after the accident, people are still asking, “Are you that kid?”
For Junior Dan Cochran, his response may sound something like this: “Yes, I’m the one that died.”
On June 15, Cochran died. While trying out for a Section III select lacrosse team at Fayetteville-Manlius High School for rising juniors, Cochran was hit on the left side of his chest just underneath his pads with a lacrosse ball. He fell face first to the ground, dead. “We were doing four-on-threes. I rotated and (another player trying out) shot the ball and I kinda turned,” says Cochran. “I remember the initial contact, and my first thought was my heart skipping a beat,” he said. And the last thing he remembers is falling. Then why is he still walking the halls of Jamesville-DeWitt High School?
It’s because Cochran was revived with CPR and an A.E.D. (automated external defibrillator). Cochran says he can recall waking up angry because he thought someone was waking him up from a nap (he had gone to the tryout very tired and wanted some rest). He had no clue of the disaster that had just occurred or the miracle which followed moments after.
He was then taken to University Hospital in Syracuse. While sitting in his hospital bed, News Channel 9 came into his room, ready to interview him. Cochran says, “I thought (being interviewed) was cool the first time. It was kind of nerve-wracking, though.” Little did Cochran know, there would be many more interviews, calls, and house visits to come.
Cochran has now been interviewed five times, he has been in the F-M High School’s newspaper once, and in the Post-Standard three times. Cochran even gave a speech on Sept. 14 at a ceremony for the men and women who had brought him back to life on the field.
Sophomore Brad Carr recalls people visiting Cochran at his house everyday for about two weeks.
Not only was Cochran sought after by the media, but by many of his friends, peers, and people he didn’t even know. “My phone blew up when I got home (from the hospital),” says Cochran. Concerned teammates and friends posted on his Facebook wall, reaching out to him.
One of those concerned teammates was Carr, who played on the J-DHS Junior Varsity Lacrosse team with Cochran and is also his cousin. Carr first found out about what happened to Cochran when he was on his way home from the tryouts of the Section III rising sophomore team. “I was terrified at first,” says Carr. Another one of Cochran’s teammates was sophomore Griffin Feiner, who was also at the sophomore team tryout. “I was surprised. I never expected anything like that to happen to someone I know,” says Feiner.
Sophomore and good friend of Cochran’s Conal Brady, who was also at the tryouts for sophomores, was at first scared, but then relieved to find out he was okay. “I love him, and if I lost him I’d cry,” says Brady.
J-V lacrosse teammate and sophomore Peter Crossett was somewhat surprised when he found out what had happened. “I was surprised, but at the same time it can happen pretty easily because lots of people don’t wear many pads,” says Crossett.
J-D Varsity Lacrosse Coach Jamie Archer received a call from one of the coaches at the field from Rome-Free Academy just five minutes after the incident. “Obviously I was very scared (at first), but when they said he was okay, (I was) relieved,” says Archer. He continued ,”It was lucky that it happened where he was so close to people that could save him.”
Cochran says he has been affected by the experience. “I guess when something like this happens, you appreciate more things people do for you,” he said. He also says that he is a little more careful in his daily routine. One of his new precautions that he has taken for this season is a new pair of shoulder pads with better protection. Most of Cochran’s teammates would say the same about this change in Cochran’s personality.
Crossett believes that Cochran really didn’t change that much after the incident. “He’s pretty much the same. Right after it happened, he wanted to go out and play again,” Crossett says. “It shows he loves the game and he’s determined to play.” Brady agrees; “He’s just a little more cautious, other wise he’s the same.” Feiner agrees as well; “He hasn’t changed at all. He’s a tough kid.”
Carr believes the event had a little more of an effect on Cochran. “He has definitely become more calm and laid back and he’s definitely appreciating things more,” says Carr.
Some players are thinking about getting new pads after seeing what happened to Cochran. Brady says he is definitely wearing more pads now. Both Crossett’s and Carr’s parents want them to get more protective pads.
But Feiner says that he won’t be getting new pads. “It was a freak accident, I’m not worried about it,” says Feiner.
Coach Archer believes that the accident was a strong reminder of they need to keep ADs around. This year, Coach Archer believes that he will be more inclined to keep and AD close by and most likely try to be a little more cautious with his players.
After all that has happened to Cochran, he has come away from it with both his sense of humor and a life lesson: “Ducking is the way to go I guess,” Cochran said.