Posted: 10:46 pm Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

American Heritage’s Herve and Marcus Coby able to joke about freak injury 

By Matt Porter

American Heritage junior wide receiver Marcus Coby returns this week after missing the first seven games of the season with an injury.

The exact nature of his injury, according to Coby and brother Herve, is somewhat comical, given the passage of time and the fact he escaped serious harm.

The injury occurred in August, during a competitive game of paintball in the Delray Beach woods. Herve, senior wide receiver and the No. 16 prospect on the Big Board, takes the story from here:

H. Coby

H. Coby

“It was kind of rainy. We all decided we were going to play, but we would keep [our masks] on, and just shoot around. We bought a lot of paint, and we wanted to just waste it all.

“And him, being all competitive, he wanted to win. So he took [his mask] off trying to see everything so he could shoot everybody out. While we were shooting around, he got popped and said ‘I’m out! I’m out!’

“And we all took off our masks and realized, the kid got shot in the eye.”

The group — about 15 American Heritage players, plus a few parents and coaches — was stunned: Who shot Marcus Coby?

“Well, it’s still undecided because we mixed up the paint, so we don’t know who shot who,” Herve Coby said. “We all got different colors. We mixed it up, so you really can’t tell.

“I can say because of the area he was in, it was [either] me, one of our coaches, or one of the young wide receivers.”

Luckily for him, Marcus Coby escaped serious damage. The paintball missed the eye. After a visit to the hospital, he wore an eye patch and took eye drops to clean the injury. He also heard about his questionable judgment from upset American Heritage coaches.

But time has passed. Herve Coby says since his younger brother has healed, he’s an easy target for verbal shots.

“Oh yeah, we always [joke],” he said. “Now that he’s better, the coach will be like ‘Hey Marcus, when you’re playing in a game, are you gonna take off your helmet and go out there?’ He just laughs about it, because he knows it was his fault. He won’t do it again. We all mess around with him. He knows we’re joking.”

M. Coby

M. Coby

Marcus Coby knows he’s lucky. He says he’s learned his lesson — “I will never take off my mask again” — and he regrets costing his team, which has been one of the area’s best in his absence (No. 5 in The Post’s Top 10).

“It was a moment thing, you know what I mean? It was foggy, everyone was shooting shots. One minute I take off my mask to take someone out — boom, right in the eye.

“[American Heritage] Coach [Doug] Socha always tells the team, the decisions you make always affect the team on and off the field. The decision I made messed up the way we prepared. We were one man short,” he said.

“But we’ll throw little jokes around. Everybody will be joking around, and one of the coaches will go, ‘It’s all fun and games until somebody gets shot in the eye . . . ‘”