Kyle Richard, a junior linebacker at SUNY Cortland who is one of the team’s captains, leads the team’s defense. However, it wasn’t easy for Richard to return to the field this season. Before he left his hometown to attend his first football practice of the season, Richard was shot twice.
Richard was attending a house party at a longtime friend’s house.
While at the party, screaming was heard from the bathroom and it was a young woman begging for help. Two men emerged from the bathroom and Richard followed.
After confronting the alleged assailant, Richard was on the receiving end of two gunshots as a third whizzed by his head.
Richard picks up his pace. His heart is thumping, body buzzing. The stranger turns. Before Richard can finish his next lengthy stride, he sees the flash. The gun is up by the stranger’s head, and time freezes for an instant. Richard is looking down on the scene from above. This can’t be real, he thinks. His brain is racing. And that’s when he starts to feel the heat.
The first bullet rips into his right quadriceps and out through the hamstring, leaving a tunnel of fire and torn muscle in its wake. Instincts turn Richard’s legs back toward the house. The second bullet flies through his left thigh. The third zips past his head.
Another friend of Richard, Michael Abiola, was also shot.
Richard also has no regrets about confronting the alleged assailant and getting shot.
“Mom, I would do the same thing again if I had to,” he told his mother while he was recovering in the hospital. “I’d do the exact same thing.”
Since the incident, Richard has joined a student group aimed at stopping sexual violence, received the Biden Courage Award for bystander intervention, and was the lone student in the SUNY school system to speak at the new chancellor’s inauguration.
On top of that, Richard continues to thrive on the field for his 7-2 Cortland team.