I started playing football in second grade, playing for the Westside Bears of Wichita, Kansas. I played for this team all throughout the rest of elementary school. A lot of my closest friends, even to this day, were made playing football all throughout my childhood.
My passion for football has only strengthened as I’ve gotten older, and my passion drives me to still play to this day. What I love most about it is teamwork.
Teamwork is everything when it comes to football. The best example of this comes from my junior year, in a game against Maize High School. I scored two touchdowns and recorded the team-high in tackles. However, my favorite moment from that game was when my best friend took an interception to the house and scored. I was more proud of him than of anything I did on the field that day.
Shattering My Forearm
But unfortunately, all the teamwork in the world couldn't prevent for what happened later on in my career.
Injury talk is everywhere in football, between concussions and major knee injuries, it’s always in the back of your mind. I have been lucky enough to never suffer a serious injury through my whole career of sports, until my first year of college football.
At Elmhurst College, we were scrimmaging at the end of our fall camp, when I suffered my first real injury. The scrimmage was going great as my tackles were in the double-digits against the first-team offense early in the third quarter. I was feeling good and my coach sent me on a blitz.
I blitzed off the right side, tracking down the running back from behind. I dove for his ankles and made the tackle. But I also broke both my radius and ulna in the process. I actually shattered my forearm in half.
When making the tackle, I felt the rush of pain for a quick second but the adrenaline hit instantly. I looked at my right arm and saw it bent in half, so I set it down on the turf to pop it back in place. After the training staff came onto the field, I had to make my way to the emergency room for x-rays.
The Harsh Truth
Here I was, just focused on getting my job done in the scrimmage. I had the opportunity to be the starting middle linebacker, as a freshman, in one of the best conferences in Division III football.
Elmhurst gave me the chance to get significant playing time as a freshman but this injury was a major setback. When I heard the news that it was broken, I felt devastated. To say I was sad would be the understatement of a lifetime.
I spent the next few days just moping around. The worst part about the whole process wasn’t the surgery or the rehab, it was watching my brothers fight without me. I felt like I let my team down and I couldn’t do anything about it. I hate sitting back and knowing I can’t do anything to help.
Time To Get Back On The Field
I couldn’t do anything but let my arm heal from surgery and hope to get healthy for my team. Three days after the break, I had surgery to repair my arm.
I now have two titanium plates and 12 screws in my right arm. My arm was in a cast for a few weeks, and after the cast they placed my arm into a stent to hold it in place. While in the stent, I also started rehab.
Thanks to going to therapy three times a week, I slowly regained movement and strength in my arm. Once the stent was taken off I had to wear the ugliest brace. I wore this for months and it was flat-out terrible. As my arm grew stronger, the therapy got more intense, focusing on rotation and wrist mobility. Finally, I slowly transitioned into weightlifting before getting cleared to return in mid-January, four months after initially breaking it.
God has a plan for me, and this was just an obstacle he threw in to see how I would react. I learned to take time to heal and not push myself. This injury also allowed me to focus on academics during my first semester which helped me form great study habits. I’m grateful that I’ve been blessed enough to make a full recovery, and can’t wait to get back on the field with my brothers next season.