A tattoo of a gothic cross with the words “Second Chance” emblazoned on his chest precisely symbolizes Rob Carr’s ’05 new-found appreciation of life.
On July 3rd, first-team All-Ivy tailback Carr was relaxing on a boat with teammates James Beck ’05 and Don Smith ’05 at Candlewood Lake in New Fairfield, Conn. The trio dove into the water and were swimming around when Carr swallowed some water, panicked and went under. Carr said he had never had swimming troubles before. This time, he called for help once and nearly brought a potential rescuer down with him.
“I just remember thinking, ‘This is the end,’” Carr said. “As I went down, right before I blacked out, I was calm, knowing I couldn’t do anything else.”
Brandon Roy of Easton, Conn. dove under water three times before finding Carr and rescuing him. Because he was unconscious and swallowed a great deal of water, Carr needed cardio-pulmonary resuscitation from Coast Guard Nick Nunnally, who happened to be at the lake. Carr was hospitalized for three days at Danbury Hospital for observation and treatment of pneumonia.
After he recovered fully, Carr said he decided to get the tattoo.
“I got a second chance to live,” he said. “It is definitely a blessing from God that I am here today.”
According to Beck, there were many people in the vicinity who dove in and tried to save Carr, including Smith and himself, but it was Roy who pulled him up.
“Now it seems almost not real because I was out and I didn’t know what was going on,” Carr said. “My life was pretty much over. [My rescue] was definitely a miracle.”
Beck said the experience of being there was ineffable.
“I don’t think I have ever been that low and that high in such a short time in my life,” Beck said.
Beck, who has been friends with Carr since their high school recruiting trip to Yale, said that as they are the only two African-Americans in their class on the team it was easy to form a bond.
Smith said that Carr means a great deal to the Yale community, both on and off the gridiron.
“Let’s just say that it was the worst experience of my life not being able to find Rob, and thank God that [Roy] was able to find him before it was too late and [Nunnally] was there to give him mouth-to-mouth,” Smith said.
Football head coach Jack Siedlecki expressed similar sentiments.
“His impact on the program as a player and as a leader are immeasurable,” Siedlecki said. “His work ethic is second to none and his practice habits influence our entire team.”
Carr, a three-time varsity letter winner, rushed for 800 net yards last season, averaged 4.7 yards a carry and recorded ten touchdowns. Carr also returned kicks for 517 yards, averaging 21.5 yards a return. The Elis will be relying on Carr this season to eat up yards.
Beck added that while Carr’s football talent is obvious, it is the intangibles that matter most.
“It is what he brings to the table — the energy, the excitement for life and for playing football, that makes Carr who he is,” Beck said.
Carr said his optimism for life has increased exponentially.
“I have a new outlook on everything,” he said. “I don’t want to take anything for granted. Every day is not promised.”