Forgotten Stories: Kenyon avoids the blanket

How Roger Kenyon nearly never made it to Vancouver

Roger Kenyon is remembered fondly by his teammates on the 1979 NASL Soccer Bowl championship team. He’s also adored by long-time ‘Caps fans who watched that famous squad. But what fans might not know is that he almost didn’t make it to Vancouver. His life was close to being over before then.

While playing for Everton, Kenyon was in a near-fatal car accident.

“I was in a friend’s car as the passenger, and his hand slipped from the stick shift,” Kenyon told whitecapsfc.com. “We went off the road and hit a cement post, which luckily didn’t fall on top of the car.”

The impact resulted in Kenyon being thrown through the windshield, lacerating his throat. Things didn’t look promising when the medics arrived on the scene. In fact, Roger was pronounced dead.

“I was laying there almost unconscious, but I could hear them talking,” remembers Kenyon. “I heard them say ‘he’s done, he’s finished, throw a blanket over him’, and I couldn’t say anything.”

Fortunately, the police officer noticed that Kenyon still had a pulse. He was taken to the hospital and saved. But they had difficulty removing the glass from his throat, which made for some interesting moments in the future.

One such story involves Kenyon sitting at dinner with his family when all of a sudden his wife screamed. A shard of glass still stuck by his throat struck an artery and caused blood to start shooting out. So Roger calmly put his fingers on his neck to cover it up and said “well I guess I’ll have to go to the hospital after dinner then”, and continued eating.

Roger later arrived in Vancouver alive and well, with his sense of humour intact. Former teammate Carl Valentine remembers when Kenyon was asked by people about the scar on his neck.

“He’d tell them he got it wrestling bears in Montana.”