Even after season-ending surgery, football taught lessons


David Bodenbender

There are many experiences that athletes look forward to throughout their high school career, one of the biggest being their senior season.

Luckily enough, I was informed that our senior year was a go, even through COVID and the world’s problems. We were going to finish this 12-year journey that we started when we were only kids.

All the off-season work would pay off one last time, and we would take the field on Sept. 11. After a tackle only six plays into that first game, I couldn’t feel my arm.

I sat out the rest of the game and decided that the rest of the season was more important than playing on my senior night. I went to the doctor the next Monday morning, and I was informed that I had separated my shoulder.

At this point, I could sit out and let it heal or play through the pain. Considering this was my senior year I said, “Doctor, I want to play. Do what you have to do to get me on the field this Friday.”

I didn’t practice for the second week of the season, but I still played some important drives throughout the game that week. I had some great stops, and a great deflected pass.

We ended up winning that game in overtime, but I knew my shoulder was not winning. I had to go back to the doctor the following Monday and he said, “It appears you played Friday. You’ve made it worse.”

Before going into the doctor, I knew I wasn’t good. He told me that I needed surgery but also asked if I was willing to give up my senior year.

In the matter of 30 seconds, the only love that I have known for twelve years flashed in front of me. I knew my shoulder needed work and that it would help me in the long run, so I told him, “It needs fixed, so let’s do it.”

Only the doctors, my mom, and I were in the room, but everyone in there knew that I hurt my shoulder more in the second game, and that the right decision was surgery.

I had surgery on a Friday morning and there was no way I was missing my team playing Conner, one of our biggest rivals. The game wasn’t until 7 o’clock, so I made it there just fine after my surgery.

I had to watch my team of brothers go out there and fight without me for the rest of the season. This was no season like I have played before; this was the last one, my senior season.

It wasn’t until this last game, where I realized how much closer I have gotten with the team while being hurt. To me there’s more to the sport of football than just the win and loss record.

Over the past month and a half, I have realized that it takes more than a bunch of strong tough guys to be good: it takes a brotherhood and a bond. With my injury, that is all I have felt with the guys on the team.

My senior season was spent on the sideline of every practice, and every game in a sling but at least I felt comfortable. I felt my team standing behind me wherever I was.