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Corey Dooley – trauma emergency room success story

Strength and resilience

Corey Dooley has a bright future in football after Methodist Dallas saved his life

undefinedOn the evening of Oct. 16, 2013, Nicole Rishard and her sons, Corey and Cody Dooley, were driving home from Cody’s middle school football game. Everyone was in a good mood. Cody’s team had won, and normal banter passed between the brothers.

Until they pulled into their garage.

Nicole’s husband (and the boys’ stepfather), from whom Nicole had been separated for two months, snuck into the garage with a gun and began firing at the family.

Two shots flew into 15-year-old Corey’s back, and as he turned to shelter his mother from the passenger seat, two more entered his left hip. His stepfather walked around the car to take aim at Nicole, but she reversed the car just in time. The bullet meant for her head hit her arm instead.

“It was a living nightmare,” Nicole remembers.

Fighting for Corey’s life

undefinedThe family was taken to Methodist Dallas Medical Center, one of only three Level I Trauma Centers in Dallas County. Nicole was treated and discharged that night, but Corey’s chances of survival were fading fast.

Michael S. Truitt, MD, FACS, trauma surgeon on the Methodist Dallas medical staff, led the trauma team that night. The most life-threatening of Corey’s injuries was a severed artery near his pelvis.

“Corey had bled to the point that he was about to die,” Dr. Truitt says. “Fortunately, just before he slipped away, we were able to clamp the artery, stop the bleeding, and replace the blood he had lost. If it hadn’t worked, there were no more options.”

Corey was in a coma for four days, but when he woke, there was one thought in his mind: When can I play football again?

“Football was a goal so far down the road,” Dr. Truitt says. “The first question was really, are you going to survive? Then beyond that, how do we get you out of bed and walking? The significance of his injuries really debilitated him. We had to take care of one thing at a time.”

So Corey did. He leaned on the love of his family, the inspiration of his faith, and the steadfast support of his medical team.

“Thank God I wasn’t at any other hospital because I feel like this was the best place for me to be,” Corey says. “Everybody just seemed like they were there to help me.”

On the field again

Corey spent one week in intensive care and another two weeks recovering at Methodist Dallas before beginning the long journey of rehabilitation. But by spring, he was able to join his high school football team again, and by senior year, he was strong enough to play varsity. His performance earned him a football scholarship to Concordia University Chicago starting this fall.

While Corey’s story is not a pretty one, it is a powerful one, and it’s one he’s sharing to illustrate the horror that domestic violence can bring.

“This has affected thousands of people, much more than my family,” he says. “It could go on to affect millions and possibly change the world.

“Proverbs 4:25 speaks a lot to me: ‘Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you.’ What lies before me is a second chance at life, and I hope to use it to help others.”

From the fall 2016 edition of Shine magazine.


Methodist Dallas is proud to partner with Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support to help survivors of domestic violence. Learn more about this organization at