2017-01-27 / Sports

Corley in coma after single-car accident

GIRLS’ SOCCER /// Royal Highlanders Royal girls’ soccer coach out of ICU; health is improving every day
By Jonathan Andrade

SUPPORT SYSTEM—Royal High girls’ soccer players and coaches express their support for varsity head coach Kevin Corley, who was involved in a single-car accident on Jan. 15. 
Courtesy of Royal High soccer SUPPORT SYSTEM—Royal High girls’ soccer players and coaches express their support for varsity head coach Kevin Corley, who was involved in a single-car accident on Jan. 15. Courtesy of Royal High soccer Jami Scrudato and Kevin Corley, co-head coaches of the Royal High girls’ soccer team, spoke on the phone while watching the Chelsea-Leicester City Premier League match on Jan. 14.

The coaches were exchanging notes from the Highlanders’ 4-0 win against Camarillo the previous night.

The jubilation from the Coastal Canyon League victory was still in the air, but the coaches, who talk on the phone often, were already game-planning for their team’s upcoming showdown with rival Simi Valley less than a week away.

Little did the coaches know that the conversation would be the last time the two would speak before disaster struck less than 24 hours later.

Corley, 54, was hospitalized early the next morning after being involved in an auto accident on the 23 Freeway, just south of Conejo Creek Park South in Thousand Oaks.

Kevin Corley Kevin Corley California Highway Patrol arrived at the scene of the crash around 1:42 a.m. Jan. 15 to find an unoccupied vehicle on the right shoulder of the southbound lanes, above Paige Lane.

Lt. Cmdr. Ron Cohen said the investigation showed Corley was wearing his seat belt during the non-injury collision. The investigation determined that most of the injuries the coach suffered were after he got out of the car. Cohen said it is unclear how Corley ended up approximately 60 feet below the freeway. It’s also unclear if alcohol was involved, the officer said.

A Newbury Park resident and father of two, Corley was rushed to Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center in Thousand Oaks for treatment of major injuries. He’s been in a medically induced coma since the accident.

“I was shocked and devastated,” Scrudato said of the news she received from Corley’s son, Sean, a Royal assistant. “It was tough to digest.”

Scrudato told the Acorn Thursday afternoon that Kevin Corley’s health is improving every day.

“He has been moved out of the ICU (intensive care unit) and is currently breathing on his own, and his vitals are all stable,” Scrudato said on Tuesday.

Royal athletic director Andy Andreolli, who’s known Corley since 1988, said there’s been a profound response from members of the Simi Valley and soccer communities.

“The outpour of love and concern for the family has been just overwhelming,” Andreolli said. “People I don’t even know have been calling asking what they can do to help. It’s been phenomenal.”

Scrudato, a 2003 Royal graduate who’s served as an assistant the past four years, said the Highlanders have banded together to “Play for Cor.”

“Obviously it was tough for the kids to hear,” Scrudato said, “but everyone’s been there for each other.”

The players took to social media to spread the word about helping their injured coach, with hashtags including #PlayForCor, #WinForCor and #VictoryForCor.

Jaycee Fuller, a sophomore forward, has this message pinned to her Twitter page: “It’s never easy hearing news like this about someone who means so much to us. Cor has taught us so much about the game of soccer and what it takes to be a team. . . . He loves our whole entire team like we were his own daughters.

“We dedicate this season, our success and our hard work to Coach Corley.”

The Highlanders donned neon green laces and headbands for their coach in a spirited 3-2 win against Simi Valley on Jan. 20. The program raised $2,500 from donations and items from the snack bar during the rivalry match to the Corley family. Royal parents Bridgette LeGrand and Michelle Adams spearheaded the fundraiser, Scrudato said.

“We are all greatly moved by our community and their generosity,” Scrudato said. “This is a true testament to our community and the support of Coach Corley.”

Royal boys’ soccer head coach Ignacio Saldain, a 1995 Royal graduate who was once in one of Corley’s physical education classes, said he wasn’t surprised to hear of the efforts by the community to come to the coach’s aid.

“Corley is a legend in the soccer world,” Saldain said. “He’s established a lot of relationships in those three decades, so he’s obviously going to draw that much support.”

Saldain returned to Royal as a teacher in 2004 and coached the junior varsity boys’ soccer team under Corley.

“He was kind of my mentor,” Saldain said. “I learned a lot of good tips from Kevin about how to run a tight program. Even though he went to coach the girls’ side, we still always talked.

“We all just want him to try to get back out there. The longer he’s out, the worse it is for the game. We’re all praying for him and hoping he’ll have a speedy recovery.”

Scrudato said the team is determined to battle on the field while Corley fights to get back on his feet.

“Everyone in the community knows Royal High School soccer is his pride and joy,” Scrudato said.

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