Capital’s Pullin Laments Injury


When kickoff arrived last Friday night between Capital and Hurricane the outlook couldn’t have been brighter for the Cougars.  Capital entered the game as the #4 team in Class AAA.   They were one of four unbeatens in the state and featured a wealth of talent led by Senior Dustin Pullin.   However, before the first quarter was over, much of that had changed for the Cougars.

After a play from deep in their own territory, sophomore running back James Richmond was helped from the field by teammates.  A play later, Pullin was installed at the running back position and got the call.

"They called a 12-Power, basically the same play Richmond got, just a little different," Pullin tells MetroNews. "The two outside linebackers came up and I went to go lower my shoulder. They stood me up and turned me around and I went to plant off that left foot and I just felt it pop."

The injury was devastating.  Pullin lay motionless on the turf.  Teammates were the first to realize with the odd alignment of his leg something was wrong.   Hurricane’s training staff was nearest the play and was at his side immediately as Capital’s staff split forces, leaving some to tend to Richmond‘s injuries and others to see to the senior standout’s leg.   The Kanawha County Emergency Ambulance Authority was summoned immediately from their position just across the end zone and track at Laidley Field.

Bandages mark the spots where doctors inserted a rod to repair Pullin’s broken femur bone.

"The only thing I said when I was on the ground was, ‘I know it’s broke, try not to touch it.’" Pullin said. "It was numb and my stomach was hurting, that’s symptoms of a bone being broke."

Pullin left the field on a stretcher and Saturday morning underwent surgery at CAMC.   Surgeons installed a pin to repair his femur.  Three pieces of tape mark the incisions on Dustin’s thigh.   

The loss of Pullin and Richmond seemed to take the wind out of the Cougars for much of the game. Coach John Carpenter admitted as much later.

"I’ve never been through anything like that before in my life," said Carpenter who fainted when he saw Pullin’s misshapen leg injury.  He fell on top of Pullin, striking him head to head.

"Yeah, we both had a knot on our head," laughed Dustin later. "I’m just glad I’d taken my helmet off or he would have really gotten hurt."

"We’ve lost Dustin for the year," said Carpenter. "Richmond we expect to be fine.  We also had one of our best linemen, Taylor Hurst, go down with a knee injury too."

The Cougars wound up losing to Hurricane 14-7 and now face a difficult stretch with a depleted squad.   Capital will have to call on a lot of youngsters to step into key roles to make a run at the post season. Pullin says although out of the game he knows he still has a key leadership role on the team.

"Actually I want to be in school and help my teammates out," said Pullin Monday from his bed at home in Charleston. "I’m going to be at the game this Friday (vs. Riverside)  and try to make it to a couple of practices.  Me being a senior and a big key on offense and defense, I just got to help my players out and motivate them to keep pushing."

Despite a debilitating injury, it’s not a broken leg that hurts Pullin the most.

"It’s my senior year and I feel like I let my team down," Pullin said. "You can’t really decide what happens.  Somebody hits you and you break a bone, it’s kind of up in the air you know."


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