WIAT CBS 42
E. Lyle Cain, Jr., M.D.
(WIAT) — The image of Alabama running back Kenyan Drake in the National Championship game was merely a dream for both Drake and his doctor Lyle Cain.
“I told Kenyan before the game. I said I had a dream last night that you had a long touchdown run to win the game,” Cain said. “Kenyan said, Doc, I feel it. I think I am going to do it. I feel it.”
A 95-yard kick return for a touchdown became a reality in what can be considered one of the biggest plays in Alabama’s win over Clemson to claim their 16th national title.
“The kick off team really leveraged all the way to my right so I just kind of cut back against the grain and I didn’t want [the] kicker to tackle me again because he tackled me earlier in the game,” Drake recalled. “Once I got around him it was just a foot race and I just wanted to get my extra effort to dive into the end zone and once I did I was relieved to see the official throw his hands up for the touchdown.”
“I’ve been part of a lot of big games and a lot of really great single plays and plays that change seasons, I don’t think there is a play in the last 10 years where more people were happy for one person in that one play,” Cain said. “I think the whole sideline was happy for Kenyan because they knew what he’s been through and all that he has put in for that play to happen and it was a game changer, it really won the game for us in my mind.”
But perhaps the people that know best are Dr. Cain and his medical staff at Andrews Sports Medicine who are on the sidelines of every football game.
“He was tremendously positive,” Cain described. “Amazing that an athlete that gets hurt like that can be so positive. He worked really hard to get back.”
After sustaining a severe leg injury that for many would be considered career ending, Drake returned to field his senior season, only to be sidelined yet again with a broken arm just weeks away from the SEC Championship game.
“All of us felt really bad for him when he got hurt against Mississippi State,” Cain said. “That is one of those injuries that was bad. It was a truly broken bone in his arm and was a real injury and some athletes take several weeks or even two or three months to get back to that injury.”
Once again, with determination, Kenyan Drake becomes the exception to the rule.
“His first response was I am going to play in Atlanta. And I thought alright that’s three weeks, two weeks away, so we got an off week, three weeks away,” Cain said. “I said Kenyan, the bone won’t be healed by then. It will be pretty strong but it really won’t be healed and you may not be able to make that and he kept saying I am going to make it to Atlanta, I am going to be in Atlanta. So it really was just a great testament to his toughness and will and attitude that he was able to fight through two serious injuries and come back and be such a contributor to the team.”
Not only has Kenyan Drake etched his name in Crimson Tide lore with his National Championship heroics, he has become an example for everyone on the outside looking in, that moments like these are possible.
“It was just really good to share that moment after the game with them after I had a big play for everything to come full circle like it did it was a proud moment for them and me,” Drake said.