This past Saturday I attended my first Hawkeye football game, and unfortunatley I brought my “interesting” knee luck with me as Junior wide receiver Paul Chaney Jr. sustained an season-ending injury–the dreaded torn ACL.
Photo from Gazette Online
As I braved the cold weather with the help of Hawkeye Vodka and watched the game from 30 rows up on the 50-yard line, never once did I notice any player go down hard enough to stop the clock and cause a concern. Then again, when I tore my ACL I was able to get back up and I really didn’t know that I tore any ligaments. At this point, I can’t confirm when he tore it and if he played on it, but it’s certain that he won’t return to the field until next year.
It’s a sad loss, considering he was, according to Adam Rittenburg’s article on espn.com, “Iowa’s top return man on both punts and kickoffs, averaging 20.1 yards on kickoff returns and 5.1 yards on punt returns. He also has seven receptions and five rushes this season.”
I can’t stress it enough that these things can happen to anyone–even the fittest, NFL prospects. But of course, there’s always hope. So many famous athletes have bounced back to their same level of play, just look at Tiger Woods. (I’ll blog about him later on this week.) The important thing to keep in mind when a highly competitive and potentially lucrative athlete tears their ACL is to not come back too soon. Read: Jerry Rice. If you are unfamiliar with Rice, he is a Hall of Fame football player who returned to the field approx. 3 months after ACL surgery. His first post-op game, he broke his kneecap.
So Chaney, please take your time getting back to the game 🙂 As much as it sucks to sit on the sidelines, it will be worth it to get reconstructed back to new. Enjoy being a spectator for once, especially in Iowa City–I know I did.
I wonder what kind of graft he’ll go for? (I’m always curious, especially with high-perfoming humans.)