Certain injuries tend to frighten football players more than others. They can handle the occasional strained hamstring or pulled quadriceps.
But a neck injury? That’s horror flick stuff.
When Seth Russell endured such an injury last fall, it was nerve-wracking for both the Baylor quarterback and his teammates. But Russell said that his faith never wavered that he’d return to the field again.
“Not at all. Once I walked off the field and I didn’t know what was going on, then I found out that I had to have surgery, I was immediately thinking about a comeback,” Russell said. “There was no thought of never playing again. That’s why I’m going to take every day and make the fullest of it.”
Russell was having a Heisman-quality season when he felt a painful pinch in his neck while fighting for yardage on a run late in an October home win over Iowa State. The injury cost him the rest of the year, a particularly frustrating development considering the Bears were undefeated when Russell went down.
A subsequent surgery proved successful, and Russell devoted a considerable amount of energy to rehabilitating his body in order to return for spring drills. He still hasn’t been cleared for contact — not a big deal, since Baylor protects its QBs from hits in the spring anyway — but just this week he got the green light from BU trainer Mike Sims to participate in full team offensive drills.
While Jarrett Stidham flashed promise as Russell’s replacement before succumbing to his own injuries, Art Briles has made it clear that the No. 1 job belongs to Russell as long as he’s healthy. Given all he’s been through, Russell said he won’t ever take another snap for granted.
“Every day is a miracle,” Russell said. “It’s a blessing to be able to play with these guys, these caliber of players. Just being able to walk is a blessing in itself. Every day I can wake up and play with these guys is awesome.”