Driven Dreams Crash

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Driven Dreams Crash

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After a great season of football being state champions my eleventh-grade year, shadowing and learning from the great seniors I played with, I knew next year was my time to shine. My name is Jabahri Asbury, and this my story.

I’ve played football since I was little, I would say it was my first love. In the eleventh grade was when I started playing football after playing basketball my previous years of high school. My cousin Josh convinced me to play that year, and it ended up being one of the most memorable moments of my life. Since I just started playing, Coach Fabrizio said I had to play JV for that year, then I could play varsity, but after seeing that I could really play. he changed his mind.

In my JV season, I had a total of 13 touchdowns and over a hundred receptions. After being behind wide receiver Ty Terrell the whole year, I had the mindset of taking his spot when he leaves, knowing I had big shoes to fill. So in the offseason before spring, I worked every day on my craft and in the weight room to get better and stronger for my senior year.

After all the hard work and training, spring football finally came. Since we won the state championship, spring had all the hype. We had about three college scouts at our practice every day — Schools such as University of  Alabama, Louisiana State University, Miami University — so you know I had to show out.

Then it happened.

On the third day of spring practice, we were doing one on ones. Miami University and South Carolina University were watching, and I was having a really good practice. After making an amazing catch on one of the defenders and the college scouts pointing at me, I knew I had to go again to show what I really have. I stepped up to the ball to run the route given by my coach, and as I was running, I tried to stop — and I heard and felt a pop. After rolling on the ground because my leg gave out on me, I punched the turf as hard as I could because of the excruciating pain in my knee.

There were so many things going through my head.  I was for real scared that I did something serious. Brian, our sports trainer, rushed over to see what was wrong. He checked my knee and said it was loose — then he whispered the bad news in my ear. I tore my ACL: every athlete’s worst nightmare. I was in shock.  I didn’t say a word until my mom came.

Three days passed, and I finally went to the orthopedics to get my MRI. My mom for the past three days was trying to calm me down, saying it might just be a minor injury, but she was wrong. When the doctor told me the bad news, I had nothing to say. I had a straight face until I got into the car, and then it really hit me.  Tears started pouring down my face. I couldn’t stop as hard as I tried. My heart was broken because I love the game of football ,and I had worked so hard and long for my starting position. All that was all gone in the blink of an eye.

My summer started off with confusion but also at the same time motivation. After being down for like a week, I told myself that I’m gonna come back from this injury stronger and better than ever. I told myself I will play my senior year, no matter how hard it’s gonna be. I watched so many youtube videos, and I asked many players who’d had the same injury questions to just learn about it so I would know what to do. No one is the same, so I couldn’t really depend on what other people told me.  I just had to test my own body and see my own limits.

I never had problems straightening my knee. It was always the bending that was the hard part for me. I had so much going on last summer; my state of mind was really low, at the same time going through my injury I was also going through relationship problems as well. It felt like I had so much on me at the time and going through the relationship situation made it ten times worst. To get my mind off the two stressful situations, I would just do pull-ups and push-ups at home every day.

The summer of 2018 was the worst and longest summer of my life. I would go to practice in the mornings. and then right after practice I would go to physical therapy every day. As I was going through physical therapy. the staff there told me that I was progressing very fast and healing well. This summer really matured me. and I was tested hard mentally, physically, and emotionally. It’s truly a challenge to overcome something like this.

Summer ended and school started. I knew I couldn’t play the majority of the regular season, but I still worked hard to lessen the time I was out. The beginning of school is when I really started rehabbing hard. It got to a point where I would work out three times a day, early in the morning, during weight training, and after school at practice. I was really pushing my body into overdrive.

The whole regular season passed, and I was getting closer to getting cleared to play again. I was still working out three times a day, and I also added training to my daily routine. I was so tired when I got home that as soon as I would sit down I would fall asleep. My drive to come back was so determined, I was not letting anything hold me back.

I officially got cleared September 13. It was one of the most relieving feelings of my life. I felt so ready for my first practice back. During that practice, I didn’t wear a brace because I felt one hundred percent. I went through the whole practice doing pretty good. At the end of practice, we do a blocking drill called “team” and during this drill, I was trying to push myself — trying to reclaim my position — so I bull rushed a defensive player, and as soon as I did this, I felt my knee tweak.

I finished practice and went to see Brian, the team trainer. I told him there was a spot on the side of my knee that was a little aggravating. He told me to stretch so I did. I got through the whole week of practice, and it felt so good to be back on the field.  I really cherished every minute in practice. I went hard every route, and I ran hard trying to get the starting position back.

After practicing for about three weeks,  on October 8 my life changed once again. At that time I didn’t know how severe the change would be. We were doing two on two drills, and I was doing a curl route which is running straight, chopping down at 12 yards and coming back to the ball. As I started chopping down and turning back to the ball, I heard and felt another pop in the same knee that I worked so hard to rehab. I ignored the pop during the play. I caught the ball while falling to the ground. Then I got up and started walking, and I knew something was wrong. I shouted with frustration because I was scared that I did something to it again!

Brian came over to me and checked my knee, and it was looking bigger than usual. He told me it was just scar tissue and that I should be good, but the pain was so unbearable it did not feel like just scar tissue.

I sat out for the next game which was Northside; then I was slowly coming back to practice. I wore a bigger knee brace after what had happened that last week. We were facing the Valdosta Wildcats that week, and I couldn’t miss that game — especially since our only loss last year had been to Valdosta. So I practiced that whole week, feeling kinda’ good, so I dressed out for the first time in my senior year. It felt like the best feeling ever — being back on Friday nights with my brothers.

My mom screamed in the stands because she saw me back in uniform. It felt good knowing that she was there cheering me on. As the game went on, the coaches were not putting me in because they felt I was not ready for contact yet. My position is wide receiver, so during the whole game I stayed with the other wide receivers.

We ended up blowing out Valdosta badly, and everyone was extremely happy and cheering. I was smiling because we won, of course, but inside I was inflamed because I felt ready but the coaches didn’t give me a chance to show that I was.

The next week I was back practicing with the huge brace. but my knee felt like it was getting worse. I would get random pains through the day, then took painkillers before practice to make it feel a little better.

The following week was Senior Night. and our offensive coordinator Coach Clark had plays designed for me to score that Friday. I practiced that Monday and Tuesday. but going through practice, I couldn’t run right and jump high, so I knew something was really wrong. I told my mom, but she thought I was okay. I told her there was something really wrong with me.

That Wednesday I went to the doctor, and that same day I got another MRI. it took forever, but we ended up getting the results the same day. As my Mom and I were waiting for the results my heart was racing, not knowing what the results were going to be.

Doctor McGhee comes in the room and tells me the worst news I could possibly hear. I retore my ACL and also my meniscus this time.  The doctor left the room, and the tears started rolling down my face uncontrollably.

I cried all that day and the next day. My mom and I headed to the school to tell Brian the bad news. I couldn’t control my tears. He hugged me and told me that he loved me and to keep my head up. I felt his love, but something like this, you can’t really keep your head up.

My mom was hurting, and she asked him can I still dress out because it was senior night, and I needed to walk with my teammates.

The next day at school I didn’t talk to anyone. I felt like the world was on my neck. I walked into the locker room, and it literally broke my heart going in there. I just sat at my locker, listening to music while tears rolled down my face.

I couldn’t control my tears. A few of my teammates hugged me and tried to comfort me. I ended up dressing out that Friday and doing the senior walk with my Mom, but I still did not touch the field. It’s devastating to not touch the field at all your senior year especially when you really love the sport. It tore me apart, and it still tears me apart to this day.

I tried coming back in five months for a year-long recovery injury. I came back too early.  I was determined and driven, but I rushed the comeback. I should have been more patient. I ruined it all for myself.

It’s like I did all of that hard work, and it was once again snatched from me. I’ve learned that I can’t rush and push everything. I have to let things heal all the way, whether it’s an injury or a problem in my life. I have to be patient in this world for great things to happen. I rushed my healing process, and it didn’t go so great. Even though I can’t walk until late December, and I get pushed around in school in a wheelchair every day, I still try to smile even though it’s so hard. Life is hard, and I just have to fight through it.

I’m just praying for better days to come. And they will — I am looking forward to college!

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