Centre College coach calling players 'his heroes' after hiking accident in Ireland

DANVILLE, Ky. (WKYT) - He says he is thankful to be alive. The defensive coordinator for Centre College is continuing his recovery at a hospital in Ireland.

Coach Carter Conley and a student-athlete fell while hiking last month along the Cliffs of Moher.

"Obviously I'm grateful just for the fact to be alive, when you talk about the Cliffs of Moher anybody who does that ... they don't survive," explained Conley.

The cliffs reaching about 700-feet are a popular spot for those visiting Ireland, which is what Coach Conley and three players were doing during their time overseas for an exhibition game.

Conley says thankfully they did not fall from the top but instead from a trail near the base. Still he and a student athlete sustaining severe injuries.

"Myself and another we slipped and fell about 20 feet. Still we sustained some pretty serious injuries. I'm looking at a tib fib compound fracture poked through the leg, the whole nasty mangly mess."

A pretty traumatic scene, in an area where there is rarely cell phone reception, that is where he says the virtue of courage something the colonels emphasize came into play.

"Rising senior, Colin Burnam, an outstanding running back and rising sophomore stud corner, Cal Lewelllyn, sprung into action. I can't say anything other than they are modern day heroes."

The two able to get a hold of the Irish Coast Guard and coordinate the emergency evacuation.

The student-athlete injured has been able to return home where he continues to recover. "That young man is so mature and such a leader. He is already looking forward and calling me into check as a coach. He is letting me know this is what we are built for, this adversity is what we do."

Conley continuing his recovery in Ireland dealing with a broken heel on one leg, compound fractures in the other, and nine broken ribs.

He says the outpouring of support has been tremendous and he has never been more proud to be a part of the Centre community. Through this all extremely grateful for the other two players who were with them on that hike

"They did an amazing job in the face of adversity. They made a big play."

Conley says his wife and father-in-law made it to Ireland the day after the accident and were able to spend several days with him. He says his parents are there now and even though it was in a hospital he was happy to spend Father's Day with his dad.

The Centre College grad is the father of three young children who he says he cannot wait to get home to.

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