The first responder who treated Leavitt football player Adam Smith for a ruptured spleen at a football game Saturday only began her work with the Greely High School athletic program this season.

In an email Monday morning, Thaddeus Pecorak confirmed that his wife, Dr. Kate Quinn of Maine Medical Partners Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, was the on-call physician at the game in Cumberland Center.

“We just moved to the area this past summer for her to take the position up here,” Pecorak wrote, “and her experience with the coaches at Greely specifically is glowing in regards to how they treat the football players.”

Smith has been upgraded to fair condition, Maine Medical Center spokeswoman Susan Pierter said Monday afternoon.

Leavitt coach Mike Hathaway said that Smith has been relocated from intensive care to a regular patient room. Doctors were monitoring Smith in ICU for two days, looking for signs of internal bleeding or impaired kidney function.

“He is doing well,” Hathaway said. “It looks like he will avoid surgery.”

Smith was injured in the fourth quarter of Leavitt’s 20-14 victory when he was struck in the abdomen by a Greely player who was wearing a cast on his arm, Hathaway said.

“We were both running at each other,” Smith told the Portland Press Herald. “He had a little bit of an edge on me in speed. And when we came together and stalemated, he was a little shorter than me so all the impact went into my ribs and straight to my spleen. That led to me not being able to breathe and that was why I got off the field.”

After being assisted to the sideline, Smith fell to his knees. Leavitt assistant coach Marco Madison observed that Smith was struggling and summoned Quinn.

“I was kind of suspicious,” Quinn told the Press Herald. “He was complaining that his stomach was hurting and that he was nauseous and that he had trouble breathing. He told me how he got hit and I had a high index of suspicion that he injured his spleen.

“I don’t mess around with cases like that. You hope it’s a rib fracture but I’d rather be safe than sorry.”

Quinn called for a second ambulance to take over at the game while preparing Smith for urgent transport to Maine Medical Center.

“My wife mentioned that the on-call ambulance was there faster than any other she’s had to call in her professional career,” Pecorak said, noting that Greely requires an ambulance to be on the premises while a football game is in progress. “She credits the arrival of that ambulance with his positive outcome.”

Pecorak said that Quinn previously worked the sidelines at football games in Florida and Alabama, states in which the competition is as hotly contested as any in the country.

“She has treated teams and players at the professional, Division I (college) and high school levels where the emphasis isn’t always on the players’ health, or the young men’s development as an adult and a citizen,” he said. “She has nothing but good things to say about the Greely coaches and staff. It’s a welcome contrast and is what high school athletics should be about.”

The injury to Smith’s spleen was labeled Grade 5, or a complete rupture. It is possible for a patient to die from internal bleeding within minutes.

His blood pressure dropped precipitously in route to the hospital.

In addition, it was discovered that Smith played most of the game with one, possibly two, broken vertebrae in his lower back. Hathaway believes that Smith suffered that injury separately in the first quarter and somehow played through it.

Quinn is uncomfortable being labeled a hero for her contributions Saturday.

“She doesn’t want any attention.” Pecorak said. “She was just doing her job.”

The Press Herald reported that Hathaway and several players visited Smith in the hospital on Sunday, with more players planning on visiting Monday.

Susan Smith, Adam’s mother, told the Press Herald, “I walked into his room earlier and there were 14 of his teammates there.”

Smith is expected to remain hospitalized for the remainder of the week. His Leavitt team, now 4-2, will host rival Spruce Mountain on Friday night.

[email protected]

Mike Lowe, a staff writer with the Portland Press Herald, contributed to this story. His material is reprinted with permission.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.