Courageous Rock Bridge Guard Rehabs Knee
Alex Austin is a three point weapon and is the leading scorer for his team. But these days he's spending time in a dark hallway down in the deep basement of Rock Bridge high school, dealing with his personal disaster.
Austin remembers, "When he jumped back, I tried to take another step, and I kinda landed awkward and my knee buckled up and I just hit the ground."
It happened in practice, in a two on one drill.
"All the coaches were sick and all the players were sick," coach Jim Scanlon says, "And not so much for us but for Alex."
Austin says, "I was thinking I guess my season is over. I may have to get surgery, I won't get to play again this year."
Scanlon was as optimistic saying, "Just hope for the best, but we thought he was finished."
His ligament sheared, but his spirit strengthened. Austin found another option, delaying surgery, giving him one last shot at playing in his senior season. So Alex Austin faced a major decision. Either see his senior season come to an end, or hours of rehab with a 50/50 chance of ever getting back on the court.
Rock Bridge Trainer Phil Threatt says, "Alex and his parents decided to let him try and at this point there was no expectation."
Six days a week, twice a day, Austin rehabed. Only 8 days after he tore the ligament, Austin started jumping rope.
Austin explains, "I'm willing to do whatever it takes and more to get back. However long they want me to stay here, I'll stay here."
On Senior Night, Austin suited up for the first time in three weeks, knee brace and all. He got the call, playing four minutes, and hitting two three's.
Austin says, "It was a dream. When it happened I didn't think I'd be playing again this season."
"I was kind of amazed. It's way beyond my thinking," Coach Scanlon admitted, "To tear an ACL and play and shoot like that."
Threatt says, "We're stealing time from his knee. Every minute he plays is a minute we're stealing back from that knee."
Minutes that Austin is cherishing, whether it's on a rehab bike or on the court.
"I'm happy for Alex. I hope he can keep going," Threatt says, "We just cross our fingers and sit and watch."
Coach Scanlon adds, "A lot of kids would have given up and they'd have probably just said I'm done, but he wouldn't be denied."
Once Austin gets the ACL surgery, he's looking at five months of rehab before he's able to play again.