Coming back from concussion, Monument's Kinne inspires teammates
The team captain is often responsible for offering a pre-game speech, or leading the team in a motivational chant before the game.
"Caps down! Get buckets," shouts the Monument Mountain boys basketball team, with senior captain Bobby Kinne leading the chant.
Until Tuesday's Western Massachusetts Division III tournament game against Pioneer Valley, Kinne was not physically with his team in the locker room. He was at home.
Recovering from a severe concussion suffered Jan. 15 against Mount Anthony, Kinne communicated with his team and followed its progress through video calls on his iPhone.
On Monday, Kinne was cleared to begin practicing with his team. On Tuesday, with game in hand and the clock winding down, Monument coach Mike Saporito could not resist giving his senior captain one last chance to take the court at his home gym.
Kinne entered the game and held the ball. The Monument crowd chanted "Bobby Kinne, Bobby Kinne" as the clock hit zero.
"I looked at my wife [Cathleen], and we realized that Bobby was in good hands with Coach Saporito," Bobby's father Kevin Kinne said. "We trusted their judgment. They've been terrific with him, so we put it in their hands."
Saporito calls Bobby Kinne the heart and soul of the team, and it's clear by the reaction of the crowd what a full recovery from Kinne means to the Monument community.
The concussion against Mount Anthony was the fourth concussion Kinne's suffered. Because of the nature of the concussion and the high-force, high-impact trauma suffered from the injury, Kinne's athletic career was in question.
After meeting with his doctor Monday, Kinne was cleared to practice basketball, and to continue playing baseball for the Spartans. He's set to attend Vassar College next year and play shortstop.
While recovering from his concussion, Kinne missed several weeks of school. Other than some mild fatigue, Kinne said he's symptom-free. He credits his teammates, friends and family for keeping his spirits up while he was away from the team.
"I was out of school for a solid month," Kinne said. "I stayed at home and only left the house for doctor's appointments and the occasional drive with my family. Dealing with sensitivity to light, constant headaches. ... The worst part was being in a depression. Not being able to be with my friends, or play basketball and workout. That was the worst part.
"[Tuesday] night was an incredibly emotional night. Unfortunately, I missed Senior Night, but last night replaced a terrible night that would've been my last game at Mount Anthony."
When Kinne was away from the team, teammates Peter Oggiani, Jason Laramee, Cam Powell, Jack Ryan and Kinne's girlfriend, Ashley Harrington, made sure Kinne was always up to date with what was going on with the team.
"My teammates were around me the whole time," Kinne said. "They were there to visit me right after it happened. They were there almost every day. We hung out like we did since freshman year. They really made me feel like I was a part of the team."
Kinne added that his father's driving to every game, and recording them so he could watch from his iPad at home, was a big help as well.
Kevin Kinne said one moment that stood out to him the most while Bobby was out was after Monument's win at Mount Everett in late January.
Through the FaceTime app, the team had a chance to interact with Bobby. It was the first time most of the team had seen his face since the injury.
"Jack [Ryan] took my phone into the locker room and Bobby was able to participate in the postgame celebration," Kevin Kinne said. "He had his core group of friends that had been visiting him, but a lot of the underclassmen had not seen him. The last vision they had of him was unconscious on a stretcher in Mount Anthony."
Bobby said that, when he returned to school, his teachers and administrators were very supportive and accommodating as he began to catch up with his schoolwork. The Kinnes also received messages and support from former teammates, and basketball fans all over Berkshire County, wishing Bobby a speedy recovery.
On the court, Oggiani said it's nice to have their emotional leader back.
"He's got a great basketball mind. We can ask him what he thinks and he gives us encouragement," he said. "He never said go out and win for me. It's never about his injury. He's always selfless."
As the team prepares to face No. 2 Renaissance on Friday, Kinne said he's proud of the run his teammates put together to get to this point.
"Every game is tough and they kept battling," he said. "I'm proud of being around them again and feeling the positive vibes and the great bonds they've formed."
To reach Akeem Glaspie:
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