N.J. rower, 16, hopes to compete again after stroke

Sixteen-year-old Connor Kelley went from winning a race at the Atlantic County High School Rowing Championships to a hospital bed — and all on Mother’s Day.

Kelley had just finished rowing for the Mainland Regional High School junior varsity eight, where the team placed first in the 1,500-meter race, when he collapsed on the ground, unable to speak or move his right arm, the Press of Atlantic City reported.

“I was at a race just being a Dad,” John Kelley told the paper, “and then I was worried if my son was going to be OK. You realize your son’s life was in jeopardy.”

Connor Kelley was taken by medical helicopter from the race site at Lake Lenape in Mays Landing to the AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City, where doctors administered the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator (TPA), the paper reported.

He immediately showed signs of improvement, but when the symptoms began to return, the Linwood teen was airlifted to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where he remained for five days of further treatment.

The day he was released from CHOP, he went directly to watch the Stotesbury Cup Regatta on the Schuylkill River. His older brother, John, 17, was racing.

Connor Kelley is still recovering from the effects of the stroke – he has some numbness in his face and thumb which are improving. Doctors don’t know what caused the clots to form and trigger a stroke, but don’t expect the teen to need further treatment, the story reported.

Connor Kelley told the paper he expects to be back out rowing as soon as possible.

“I’m determined as hell, and I want to get back out there,” he said. “We’re going to have a fast (boat) next year. I’m healthy. I want to row with these guys again.”