High schools: Prices triumph over tragedy

Last Tuesday was going to be a happy day for Cody Price and his wife, Courtney. Courtney was coming home. She had been away for 21 days, eight in OU Medical Center and 13 at Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation Center, recovering from a horrible car accident that nearly took her life.
by Scott Wright Published: May 27, 2013
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photo - From left, Courtney, Kennedy and Cody Price. PHOTO PROVIDED
From left, Courtney, Kennedy and Cody Price. PHOTO PROVIDED

MUSTANG — Last Tuesday was going to be a happy day for Cody Price and his wife, Courtney.

Courtney was coming home.

She had been away for 21 days, eight in OU Medical Center and 13 at Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation Center, recovering from a horrible car accident that nearly took her life.

On May 1, Courtney was driving to work when she pulled out in front of an oncoming school bus. The bus had no children in it, and no one else was injured.

But Courtney was three months pregnant with the Prices' second child. She lost the baby, sustained severe injuries to multiple organs, and broke her pelvis and other bones.

Cody, an assistant softball and baseball coach at Mustang High School, spoke last week at the baseball team's end-of-season banquet about how excited they were that Courtney's condition was improving and she would be coming home soon.

Yes, last Tuesday was going to be a happy day.

For the first time in three weeks, Courtney, Cody and 22-month-old daughter Kennedy would get to spend the night in the same home. Kennedy had been staying with Courtney's sister during the recovery period, while Cody spent nights with his wife at the Jim Thorpe Center.

Still unable to walk, Courtney would need a hospital bed. After it was delivered about 1 p.m. on Monday of last week, Cody left their Moore home to go back to be with his wife at the Jim Thorpe facility in south Oklahoma City.

Two hours later, the Prices' home was destroyed, ripped apart by the deadly tornado of May 20.

Just when tragedy and pain and loss appeared to be behind them, it spun back around to slam Cody and Courtney Price for the second time in 20 days.

The smile

Many of Cody Price's students call him Smiley.

“He always smiles,” said Mustang softball player Kodi Jones. “I've never seen him get mad.”

As a coach, he's constantly looking at the positives of a situation and trying to build players up.

“He's never negative toward his players,” softball player Laci Joyner said. “He encourages us instead of yelling at us if we mess up. He's always trying to pump us up.

“At school, he's always out in the hall between classes. Everybody says hi to him, and he's smiling and talking and waving at everybody.”

And Courtney's attitude is equally uplifting.

Knowing their story, it would be easy to feel pity for the Prices, but there's no need.

Cody and Courtney aren't wasting time feeling sorry for themselves. Their perpetual positive attitude — founded in their faith in God — kicks in just the same, no matter what they're facing.

“I've talked to Cody several times in the last three weeks, and you'd never think he's been through the tragedy he's just been through,” Mustang head baseball coach Scott Selby said. “He'll tell me about how upbeat his wife is while she's progressing through her recovery.

“Cody's always finding the good in situations. He sees things in a different way than most.”

The wreck

On May 1, Courtney took a different route to work. Most of the intersections she went through were four-way stops, but not the one at SW 134th and Meridian.

Courtney stopped at the stop sign, then pulled into the intersection, thinking the oncoming bus would stop as well. But the bus didn't have a stop sign, and slammed into the driver's side of her car.

Her injuries were nearly fatal. Severe lacerations to her liver, spleen and left kidney. Two broken vertebrae, four broken ribs and two breaks in her pelvis.

She needed four surgeries and spent two days in intensive care before being transferred to the trauma unit. She needed four blood transfusions and had to be put in traction. She won't be able to stand on her own until at least August.

Cody has already informed coaches and administrators at Mustang that he won't be able to help with summer baseball or fast-pitch softball in the fall. He wants to be with his wife as much as possible while she completes her recovery.

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by Scott Wright
Reporter
A lifelong resident of the Oklahoma City metro area, Scott Wright has been on The Oklahoman staff since 2005, covering a little bit of everything on the state's sports scene. He has been a beat writer for football and basketball at Oklahoma and...
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