The Penn State women’s hockey team adorned its sticks with yellow tape last weekend to support cheerleader Paige Raque in her recovery efforts.
Raque, a 19-year old varsity cheerleader, fell 39 feet out of a window from the fifth floor of Calder Commons on Oct. 13. She sustained severe head trauma and other injuries but has since been taken off a ventilator.
Assistant coach Casey McCullion said she got the idea for the tape from the field hockey players, who wore ribbon in their hair.
“I felt like it was important for us to show our support as well,” McCullion said. “[To] just show the Raque family, as well as Paige, that we’re supporting her and wishing her well as she goes through recovery.”
Forward Jenna Welch said the teams back each other and that they wanted to show their support even if it was not through direct interaction with Raque.
McCullion said that her team’s understanding was that yellow is Raque’s favorite color and that was what the cheerleaders were using to represent Raque. The team also sent flowers to Raque.
McCullion also said it all comes back to Penn State athletics being “one team” and that has been a theme all year.
“Especially as a first-year program, we’ve really been feeling the support of other teams,” McCullion said. “This is certainly an opportunity for us to show our support for the cheerleaders and all of Paige’s friends.”
Welch said head coach Josh Brandwene came into the locker room during one the Nittany Lions’ games against Rochester Institute of Technology last weekend and told the team that if it gave them any extra motivation, Raque spoke her first words that night since the incident.
“That really gave us chills,” Welch said. “It’s pretty cool to know that we’re supporting each other and that she’s doing well. We’re really excited about that.”
Most of the players had the yellow tape on their sticks during practice on Tuesday and McCullion said it will stay there as a symbol of support.
“Certainly, there are bigger things than hockey,” McCullion said. “Right now, her recovery is one of those.”
To email reporter: email@example.com