Apr 5, 2010 8:27 AM by John Romero

Doherty hockey team "coaching" coach to recovery

For the last 18 years, Jim Crandall has been on the ice coaching the next generation of hockey stars including the Doherty High Spartans. In February that all came crashing down. "I woke up and I literally couldn't sit up to get out of bed." he explains, "I asked my wife to help me sit up. As I went to get off the bed I just crumbled to the floor."

Jim was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome. It's an illness which attacks the immune system. It rendered him paralyzed from the eyes down. "Every part of me was in pain. It felt like I was on fire." Crandall recalls. The news of Coach Jimbo's illness rocked the team. "I couldn't believe it." says Doherty High School hockey captain Dylan Hassell, "This was Jimbo. He was always the big guy around. I didn't think anything like that could happen to him."

And just as he's been there for the team, the team has stepped up for their coach. "We wanted to help Jimbo out and let him know we were there for him." The outpouring of support from his players meant the world to Crandall. "Thinking about when they came in as a group and I talked to those guys, I get a tear in my eye." he says, "I love these guys." From visits to food deliveries, they've been there for Jim pushing him towards recovery. "They've been using a lot of my "Jimboisms" like "Know you can. Come on! Skate hard! Know you can do it." You know, they pushed me just like I pushed them on the ice." says Crandall with a laugh.

There are no guarantees Jim will ever be back to normal. But his inspiration keeps him going. "I want to get back out with these boys. I'm looking forward to the hockey season." he says. Two things are certain, the Spartans are ready. "I think the season should be dedicated to him." says Hassell, "He wants to be there for us so we're going to be there for him." Coach Jimbo is ready too. "I'll be there." Crandall says, "I told them if I have to tape my stick to a walker I'm going to be out there with them."

Jim's wife has been keeping a blog of Jim's recovery process. CLICK HERE to read it.


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