My comeback story started January 25, 2018. I played football at the University of Northwestern Saint Paul, and we had lifting that evening. We did lower body workouts such as squats, deadlifts, and lunges. I played wide receiver and I was feeling amazing so I was lifting with the offensive line this day. The lift went great then we had an inturmal basketball game after. On the first play of this game I pushed off to run and collapsed. I had never experienced a pain like this and was yelling and crying out. I was screaming, “who kicked me.” Nobody was within ten feet of me. My football teammates carried me to the training room where we called our athletic trainer and he said I probably ruptured my Achilles at 18 years old. He thought that was unheard of and that I needed to go to the doctor as soon as possible. I called my parents and my mom told me to go to Twin Cities Orthopedics because she heard amazing things about them. So, I met my mom at TCO Maple Grove where I was told I indeed ruptured my Achilles. This was devestaing to me.
I have never had an injury of this extent. To add to my sadness, my surgery was scheduled for February 2nd and I was scheduled to volunteer at US Bank Stadium for the Super Bowl on February 4th. As with every kid who plays football, this was always been a dream of mine and it was not anymore possible. However, my surgery went perfect and I was on the road to recovery. I experienced many trials in the process, like missing one week of school and simply getting around campus in the winter seemed impossible, so I missed countless classes. However, I persevered and was able to do well in all of my classes through the grace of my professors. Along with going to therapy and meeting countless obstacles recovering.
My goal from the start was to be ready for football season in September and play in our second game of the year, which was in Los Angeles. I was told by almost everyone that it was unachiveable. I was given a time table of a 12 month recovery. I wanted to beat these odds with all of my heart. At the start of my therapy I was extremely disappointed with my results but I was on track to recover in 12 months. As the summer approached, I met with my trainer at school and he said I should consider gray shirting (medical redshirt) that upcoming year. This made me angry and pushed me to train harder. In the middle of summer, my therapist left on maturity leave and then Julie Wenda became my therapist. She asked me what my goal was and I will never forget her face because she, like everyone else, cringed. But then she said I believe in you and let’s do this.
This is exactly what I needed. She pushed me and gave me the skills I needed to succeed. As football season approached, I met with my coaches and they wanted me to grayshirt again. This was a dagger. But I believed in myself and Julie still thought I could make it. I did not grayshirt going into August. I was not able to do much with the team and was not progressing. Julie was pushing me during therapy but my trainers would not let me do drills in practice. So Julie went out of her way to writing them and calling them to tell them over and over that I was ready and needed to push myself. I am very thankful she did this for me. After Julie talked to them, they let me participate in practice. The first week of September came around and my coaches were making the roster for the game in Los Angeles and they gave me a chance to prove myself. However, they said I was not ready and I would not be able to go with them. This broke my heart. I was devastated.
When I came back to therapy that week and told Julie she was sad but she immediately turned around and asked me what my next goal is. Again, her uplifting spirit helped me through this tough time. My goal was to be able to play in a game this year. As the year went on I kept pushing myself to try and get myself ready and on the last game of the year I was able to meet this goal. This was an emotional time for me and I am beyond thankful for my family, friends, teammates, and Twin Cities Orthopedics. Without these people I would not have made this comeback and was still able to beat the odds playing in a collegiate football game 8 months after surgery. At the end of the year my teammates and coaches voted me to win the David award for our team. This award is described as the overcomer of great odds. I was honored and blessed. Through this injury I have become a better person and I have learned a lot through the adversity and I faced. Now I am preparing for next season, planning on being a 100%, and thriving. Thanks to Twin Cities Orthopedics – this is my comeback story.