On the mend: Richardson back on feet to run at regionals

By Reece Waddell | Published Saturday, October 20, 2018
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Connor Richardson

Connor Richardson. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

With less than a week to the Oct. 11 District 7-3A meet, Boyd senior Connor Richardson did not feel like himself.

The runner that finished in the top 20 at state last fall started feeling weakness in his legs that was followed soon by body aches, extreme fatigue and violent bouts of vomiting.

Suspecting the flu, Richardson and his parents went to an urgent care center in Decatur. After flu tests came back negative, Richardson was discharged and sent home.

BACK ON TRACK – Boyd senior Connor Richardson runs during the Assault of Eagle Summit. Richardson was hospitalized last week and missed the District 7-3A championships, but has recovered will run at the 3A Region I meet Monday in Lubbock. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

By Oct. 10, his condition worsened, so Richardson was taken to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth.

“On my way to the hospital, I didn’t know what was going on with my body. I was in pretty bad shape,” Richardson said. “I couldn’t walk. They had to lift me out of the wheelchair and onto the table to get a CAT scan.”

Doctors ordered a bevy of tests, including ones for West Nile and meningitis. Richardson eventually had a spinal tap, but the results came back negative. In a span of five days, the 6-3 runner lost nearly 10 pounds.

“They didn’t know what it was,” Richardson said. “They tested me for everything. The meningitis test was the last one to come back. They thought that had to be it with the symptoms, but it was negative.”

Richardson spent the night in the hospital. The morning of the 7-3A race, he was in a hospital bed over 30 miles away.

The reigning district champion, who had put in countless miles in the past year, missed out on the chance to defend his title on his home turf.

“At first, I was just upset,” Richardson said. “It’s my senior year, and I was looking forward to running my last district meet at home in front of everyone. That was a bummer. It sucked.”

In his absence, three Boyd freshmen – including Richardson’s younger brother, Noah – stepped up. Although he was not there to watch it, Richardson’s mother FaceTimed him throughout the whole race so he could watch his team repeat as district champions.

“Mom was on the gator with coach. It was awesome,” Richardson said. “They’re amazing.”

Boyd finished with 37 points, beating second-place Peaster by 25. The Yellowjackets had three runners finish in the top 10 and had their entire team place in the top 16.

“A lot of people were nervous about Noah being the fourth guy and other freshman stepping up, but I knew they had it,” Richardson said. “It was definitely one of the proudest moments of my running career. Even though I wasn’t there to take part of it, I hold my head up high. That’s my team, and those are my brothers. I wouldn’t trade them for anything.”

Richardson was discharged from the hospital Oct. 11 and said he started to feel better by Oct. 13, which was also his birthday. He started running again on Monday.

“It was the worst pain I’ve ever felt,” Richardson said. “My joints and everything hurt, being out for a week-and-a-half. Tuesday was a pretty hard workout, but that gave me a lot of confidence. I wasn’t that far behind where I was before my sickness.

Boyd’s performance at district ensured Richardson would get to compete at the 3A Region I championships Monday in Lubbock.

Doctors never determined what virus plagued Richardson, but Boyd’s top runner has seemingly made a full recovery.

Come Monday, Richardson has every intention of taking the course at Mae Simmons Park to help his team hopefully make a return to Round Rock and the state cross country meet for the second straight year.

“It gives the guys a lot of confidence, knowing we have our No. 1 guy back,” said Boyd coach Oscar Hernandez. “Practice this week has been good, and Connor is back to normal. You always have to have that one guy who can go get you a low number.”

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