“I remember your dad calling me, Connor, and he had gotten a call from somebody on site there,” Gruninger mentioned, recounting a part of the episode that Fields had not heard. “He said: ‘Connor’s not breathing. They had to create an airway for him.’ And then your dad’s like: ‘Wait, they’re calling back. I have to go.’”
In Tokyo, Dr. Finnoff was on the Olympic Village when messages arrived.
“When I saw the accident on TV, my first thought was, oh, my gosh, not only did he ram his head down into the asphalt, but I wonder if he broke his neck, and now is a tetraplegic,” Dr. Finnoff mentioned. “Finding out that he doesn’t have a broken neck and he’s moving his arms and legs was really, really great news.”
Dr. Finnoff met Fields within the emergency room of St. Luke’s International Hospital.
“I had to essentially yell to get him to open his eyes,” Dr. Finnoff mentioned. “I could get him to say his name, but almost immediately he’d close his eyes. He didn’t know exactly what was going on. He didn’t know where he was. He couldn’t tell me anything.”
Having any response was signal, Dr. Finnoff mentioned. A CT scan and M.R.I. assessed the injury. Dr. Finnoff was relieved to be taught that there was no inner bleeding past the mind. Fields had a damaged rib and a bruised lung, and severe scrapes and bruises.
“There are just so many other things he could have had,” Dr. Finnoff mentioned.
To Gruninger, the primary few days have been agonizing. She tried to not assume the worst — loss of life, paralysis, everlasting mind injury.
It was three days after the wreck when her telephone buzzed, saying that Connor Fields wished to FaceTime. She didn’t know what to anticipate. She discovered him trying again at her.
“I could tell you were groggy and tired,” Gruninger mentioned to Fields of their kitchen. “But I could also tell that you were you.”