Cathedral High School boys head coach Peter Arnold watches the boys varsity team perform drills during practice. Three weeks ago, Arnold broke his radius and ulna of his right arm during a team practice. (Brittney Lohmiller \ The Natchez Democrat)
Cathedral High School boys head coach Peter Arnold watches the boys varsity team perform drills during practice. Three weeks ago, Arnold broke his radius and ulna of his right arm during a team practice. (Brittney Lohmiller \ The Natchez Democrat)

Cathedral boys coach breaks arm after accident during drills

Published 12:01am Monday, February 10, 2014

NATCHEZ — An unfortunate accident in practice Jan. 13 not only left Cathedral High School head coach Peter Arnold with a broken arm, but it also left the Green Wave with a broken winning streak.

It started off as a regular day in practice when Arnold stood on the baseline while watching his players perform a press offense vs. press defense drill, which involved the players sprinting up and down the court.

After running the play a few times, Arnold said he wasn’t happy with what he saw.

“When the last group went down and back, they did something terribly wrong,” Arnold said. “So I let them go (down the court) one more time.”

After the offense scored, Arnold told his players to stop the drill while heading for the sideline, as he cut through an edge of the court in the process.

The Green Wave players were in the motion of coming back down the court to finish the drill when they heard Arnold command them to stop.

Freshman guard William Doss had the ball in his hands during the command.

“I was throwing the ball (down the court) as he said stop,” Doss said. “When I released the ball, I wanted the ball to come back to me. I saw Will (Wallace) going for it while coach was walking on the court and I thought, ‘Coach is about to get it.’”

The pass was meant for James Allen Coley, who seemed to be wide open running down the right side of the floor.

The pass went a little too far to the right, but Coley’s defender, Wallace, was still going for the steal.

“William (Doss) threw the ball, and I guess coach just started walking on the court; I don’t know why he walked out there,” Wallace said. “I went to hit the ball away, and I went full speed into coach. Right when he hit the ground, he grabbed his arm.”

Arnold said he knew immediately that his arm was broken, but the damage was worse than he thought.

“When I hit the floor, my arm was behind me and I reached behind me, and when I grabbed my arm, I said my arm was broken because it was crooked,” Arnold said. “I didn’t holler at anybody, I just said help me up, I have to go to the emergency room.

“The doctor said my radius and ulna were broken, but I also couldn’t lift my arm up. The doctor said I also tore the rotator cuff completely off my shoulder.”

Arnold said the doctors were able to place his arm back in place instead of needing surgery, but his shoulder would be a different story.

“I will have to have surgery on my shoulder after my arm heals up a little more,” he said.

Arnold said he is still not sure why the event happened like it did.

“It’s something that happens,” he said. “I don’t know why I walked over (to the sideline) or why they threw the ball that way.”

Cathedral was 4-0 in divisional play at the time, but with Arnold out, the Green Wave lost three of its next four games.

“It made me feel terrible,” he said. “I felt like I let them down. I felt like we were just hitting our stride when it happened.”

But now, Arnold is back in action, and he said the season is far from over.

“We can finish second or fifth in district depending on how our next few games go,” Arnold said.

Wallace said now that coach is back, he is confident they can make a late-season push.

“We could’ve used him in close games like against St. Aloysius, but I’m glad he’s back,” Wallace said. “I think it will give us momentum going into the playoffs.”

Arnold can now be seen on the sideline sporting a green cast on his right arm. Though the cast is conveniently the school colors, Arnold said that wasn’t initially part of the plan.

“I’m more of a plain manila (cast) type of guy, but my doctor made the green cast before I could say anything,” he said. “I knew he did it because of Cathedral, so now I’m green.”

Arnold and the Green Wave have two games left in district before the divisional tournament against Hinds Agricultural High School Tuesday and St. Aloysius High School Friday.