By Ray Gallagher
Examiner Sports Editor
What else can you say about 2020 other than it’s among the most tumultuous and frustrating years in the history of our nation.
Between the ginned-up impeachment of 45, COVID-19, George Floyd and the subsequent protests and riots, plus the toppling of historic statues, this has been a nasty, divisive period that has shredded the fabric of America.
But if you’re part of the Hendrick Hudson School District in any way, shape or form, you’ve had it rougher than most the last couple of weeks. As if COVID-19 and the controversy surrounding the 2021 closing of Indian Point nuclear power plant hasn’t been enough for the river communities of Cortlandt, Montrose and Verplanck, the Sailors are also dealing with the mishaps of two graduating seniors who are lucky to be alive after two similar accidents.
The families of recent Hen Hud grads Michael Alaio and Matthew Rivera need your prayers to keep these two beloved student-athletes headed in the right direction, which both seem to be trending toward after the scare of a lifetime.
Alaio’s accident occurred in Wildwood, N.J., while on a senior trip in late June, where he sustained a serious head injury. He had surgery to remove the left side of his skull. He has significant swelling of his brain and was fighting for his life, which he has done better than anyone could have imagined after this dire situation occurred.
The original prognosis, while he fought for his life on a ventilator, was grim, to say the least. The Hen Hud community – between hopes and prayers – was reeling, but the power of both has given the Sailor faithful a robust expectation as Michael’s condition improves by the day.
“This kid of mine is so strong and determined,” Alaio’s mom, Liz, exclaimed in a recent Facebook post. “He will get through this! The doctors are amazed at his strength! He’s trying to remove his tubes and is trying to sit up and he is aware of everything! The doctor said ‘He’s wild!!’ We couldn’t ask for more! If anyone can get through this it’s Michael. Thank you everyone that is praying and thinking about him. God is listening.”
Now, more than ever, we need God to hear us, as our nation has hit a crossroad. COVID-19 is still spreading and America’s great melting pot is boiling over, and the good folks in the Hen Hud community are dealing with additional stress, including the Rivera situation. The young lad took a fall off a bridge and landed somewhere between 55 and 60 feet below, just days after Alaio’s tumble.
Rivera fractured seven bones in his spine and might need a brace. He had his four top front teeth pushed back, lacerated his bottom lip and fractured the top of his jaw, which needs extensive surgery and implants. His spleen ruptured and detached from the vessels and needed emergency removal due to internal bleeding. His lungs and pancreas were severely bruised and he suffered some cracked ribs.
“He is lucky to be alive and we are grateful to still have him with us,” Rivera’s sister, Victoria, said on the GoFundMe page to assist with Michael’s numerous needs. Please visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/matthew-rivera-medical-funds.
As a track and field star at Hen Hud, Rivera has the power of speed accelerating his healing process, but I can’t imagine what these families are dealing with, including these horrific, life-threatening falls and a pandemic that has crushed the spirit of the Class of 2020.
As if life wasn’t tough enough already, the Alaio and Rivera families are being tested. While both families have a significant fight ahead of them, both are passing with flying colors due to the resilience of their sons. May God bless and watch over y’all #PrayersUp…
RANDOMNESS: Chirp at me until the cows come home, but I will always stand at attention, my hand over my heart, for the anthem of any country I’m chillin’ in while the anthem of said nation resounds. It’s just the respectful thing to do.
Instead of “defund police,” how about we “refund police,” seeing how they risk their lives each and every day for the safety of law-abiding Americans.
Oft-injured Mets’ slugger Yoenis Céspedes in a walk year – with the DH in play this season – has some interesting appeal. Can’t wait to see this guy go full bore (pun intended) as the retooled Mets make a run at the NL flag.
I said a couple of weeks ago that the NFL’s Washington Redskins should consider a name change, given the disparaging nature of the nickname, its branding and its headdress logo. And it looks like owner Dan Snyder is finally about to cave in to the pressure, but imagine if cancel culture comes for the Yankees next since that might be considered offensive to the south, or the Brewers for obvious reasons.
In the end, I always went to sports to get away from politics, but now the NFL, NBA, NASCAR and MLB have become embroiled in the fray, so I’m not sure what to expect but I do know that most folks from my generation (the 50-somethings) are against mixing sports and politics since the two rarely mixed in the past. I reckon we’ll see how this plays out in the days ahead.