On the night of July 5, while spending the holiday weekend with friends at Jersey Shore, Ryan Maloney ’20 suffered a spinal cord injury. Since then, he has been unable to move his legs, but has maintained sensation below his waist, according to a GoFundMe campaign set up by his Cornell lacrosse teammates.
The next morning, Maloney received emergency surgery to relieve the pressure on his spinal cord and realign vertebrae. According to the same campaign, he was diagnosed with bilateral C6-7 facet dislocation of his cervical spine, indicating a ligament injury in the neck, a type of incomplete spinal cord injury according to the University of Southern California Spine Institute.
The GoFundMe campaign, set up by Maloney’s teammates, has since raised over $180,000 from over 1,700 donors in just four days.
Maloney, an attackman on the lacrosse team, is a rising senior in the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. Before the injury took place, he was interning with Credit Suisse.
“From the coach’s perspective, he’s a dream to have on your team — hardworking, selfless, loyal,” lacrosse coach Peter Milliman told The Sun in a phone interview. “He’s a really good kid to coach and be around.”
Prior to Cornell, he attended Victor High School in Victor, New York, where he was a US Lacrosse All-American and an Under Armour Senior All-American in 2016, according to the Cornell lacrosse roster. This past season, he saw time in five games and experienced his first collegiate goal after sitting out the 2018 season due to an injury.
Since the injury, Maloney and his family has received support overwhelming support from his coach and teammates through donations and on social media.
“The Cornell Lacrosse Family is asking for your help to support a member of our rising senior class, Ryan Maloney ’20. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe this young man. We love you Ryan!” the official account of the Cornell lacrosse team tweeted with a link to the GoFundMe on Wednesday.
“[Maloney] is a very genuine guy that is always so positive in the locker room,” Zach Ward ’19, Maloney’s teammate and classmate in the Dyson School, told the Sun in an email. “Anyone can lean on him in a time of need and he will be there no matter what.”
“He is the epitome of a great teammate and the type of player and person that Cornell Lacrosse prides themselves on,” he continued.
According to recent posts by his parents, Maloney has been making steady progress. He was released from the Intensive Care Unit on Saturday and will go to a rehabilitation facility on Monday.
“The outpouring of love and encouragement has been overwhelmingly touching and instrumental in aiding Ryan’s battle to get as healthy as possible!” said the Maloney family on the GoFundMe page.
Milliman, who has known Maloney since he was a sophomore in high school, said that the student athlete has always been driven on and off the field.
“Eating with him today was inspirational,” Milliman, who met with Maloney on Saturday, said. “He looked me straight in the face and said, ‘I’m going to walk, whatever it takes.’ He’s a special kid.”