A stray bullet nearly ended the career of a young player on the Butler men’s tennis team.
Mason Dragos found his way back onto the court, but his journey nearly came to an end this past spring.
The accidental shooting happened during Dragos’ final season with his high school in Lexington, Ohio. He and a bunch of buddies drove to a vineyard, the blueberry patch, near his home. A friend of a friend brought a handgun. Another young man grabbed it, and accidentally fired it into the granite top where the boys were sitting.
“It was like two feet away,” said Dragos. “The bullet bounced off the counter-top and went into my chest.”
The bullet lodged one centimeter from mason’s heart. But it was the other injury, which sent him into shock. His left hand was mangled from debris.
“The granite blew up everywhere. My hand looked like it went through a meat grinder. It was disgusting. It was like squirting blood. It was gross,” said Dragos.
Mason was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery. Meanwhile his high school team was faced with losing one of its most valuable players, just as the state championship was getting underway.
Doctors repaired Mason’s left hand. He went back to playing tennis three weeks later.
“My hand was driving me crazy. It was just disgusting, kept bleeding. So they did another surgery trying to repair the nerve and take more granite pieces out. Now I have permanent nerve damage in my left ring finger. I don’t have any feeling in it.”
Despite the damaged hand, Mason managed to return winning the Ohio singles men 2015 state title. He’s playing the fall season at Butler. His coach, Parker Ross, has tremendous respect for Dragos.
“He’s 100 percent healthy. He’s a tough kid,” said coach Ross.
The scars are visible on Mason Dragos’ chest and left hand. They are the reminders of what could have ended not only his favorite sport, but his life.
“The nurses kept saying you’re the luckiest kid that walked through here. So I definitely was lucky.”
In the Louisville invitational Mason Dragos picked up a one match victory in flight when he defeated Louisville’s Brian Tsao 7-5, 6-4, before falling in the second round.