April 24, 2019 11:22 PM
(ABC 6 News) In the fall of 2017, junior linebacker Drew Copley and the Grand Meadow Superlarks were ready for their new season. The team defeated their first opponent in dominate fashion, but the hype and excitement quickly changed for Copley. His junior season came to an end during the second game of the year.
Drew said, he remembers it like it was yesterday. It was early in the game, he went down with a knee injury, but he didn't know the extent of it.
"It was only supposed to be a bone bruise and the next day we went to see a surgeon," Copley said reminiscing on the event. "He said it could be a possible torn ACL and meniscus. So then we got an MRI and the following week it turned out to be a torn ACL and meniscus and that's when I broke down."
Drew's dad, Dan, is also one of his son's coaches so he knew how much this was going to impact his son, his family and the team's he played on.
"You know when one of your best players goes down and it's tough when it's your son," Dan said. "It's heartbreaking because he did put his time in, he did a lot of the extra stuff he needed to and it kind of got taken away from him really fast. So, it was tough to see from a father and coach point of view."
When the news came back that Drew's injury was worse than the first diagnoses, it was his dad who had to deliver the news.
"I had to go home and I was pretty shaken up and tried to keep it together for him," Dan explained. "I told him and he just had a look on his face and he's like, 'I will be back.' That's the first thing he said and right then and there that made me feel better."
Drew had surgery and from he started grinding. He worked day and night to get back to where he was before his injury.
"Back here at home, my family and friends helped me a lot," Drew said. "Like in the mornings, my friend Nolan would get up with me in the morning and we would go for a run or even just lift, do some rehab, he helped me get through rehab."
Nolan Skifter is a junior catcher on the GMLOK baseball team and has been best friends with Drew for a long time.
"Of course, like he said, it was going to be emotional, and right there you just have to stand by his side and help him in every way to be successful and go back to where he was, of course, before his injury," Skifter explained about how he supported Drew.
Drew's mindset and dedication to get back on the mound, and just back to how he was before the injury, was evident from the start of his rehabilitation.
"The determination right away, he couldn't do anything for the six weeks he was in a wheelchair," Dan described about Drew's phases of rehab. "Then he finally got back to being able to lift and using crutches was huge. It was a lot of work. A lot of work for him, a lot of work for us, but he kept driving, he kept pushing, he always wanted to keep testing higher until he failed at it, then they would be like 'no Drew you gotta relax,' but he wanted to keep going so he did. It was fun to watch that way and see what he's actually made of and what he can do."
Eight and a half months later, Drew was able to DH in his team's final game of the 2018 season. He also got to play on the Austin Legion last summer, which he gives credit to for helping him get back to his full potential.
Now, almost a year later, Drew is back no the mound, healthy and looking forward.
"When I got up there, I knew this was a new start to a season," Drew said about his first start of the season. "Last season is gone and I'm going to go from there."
In his four starts for the Bulldogs, he has pitched 22 2/3 innings, with 43 strike outs and he's sporting a 0.75 ERA. At the plate he's raking. Drew is hitting 0.565 and has just under a .700 on base percentage.
"He's a student of the game, he's always got great ideas, thinking ahead," GMLOK head baseball coach Dakotah Rostad said. "The way he puts it out there to his teammates and coaches is very respectful and it's usually the right baseball move."
Created: April 24, 2019 11:22 PM
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