Conditions + Treatments
I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, and I'm a long-time patient of Andrews Sports Medicine.
I attended Briarwood Christian School, where I was the quarterback for the football team. During a game in my sophomore year, I suffered a severe injury to my left ankle. Thankfully, our team physician at the time, Dr. Norman E. Waldrop, was on the sideline, and he and the athletic training staff immediately took care of me. The injury was a compound dislocated ankle. The ligaments in my ankle were shot, and I couldn’t put pressure on my ankle at all. After some initial scans, they revealed that I would need immediate surgery, which Dr. Waldrop performed.
I was unsure if I could walk again, let alone play sports. I couldn’t put any weight on my foot for a month and had to trust the process to slowly regain mobility and strength. Thanks to Dr. Waldrop, his staff, and physical therapists, what was supposed to be a year-long recovery, was only eight months. I am thankful to Dr. Waldrop, who stepped up in a high-pressure emergency and got me back healthy and to competing quickly and safely.
Like some football players in high school, I ran track in the spring to stay in shape and compete. One day, I tweaked my hip and had to stop running for a while. However, I still wanted to compete, and my brother’s roommate threw the javelin at LSU. He came to Birmingham and introduced me to javelin; we practiced in my driveway throwing pinecones! After that visit, I gave javelin a shot at school, and a month later, I won first place in the 6A AHSAA State Championship in javelin. I improved 90 feet from my first meet to my fourth.
After high school, I was blessed to continue my academic and athletic career at the University of Alabama, where I threw javelin on the track and field team. I had a great first season. It was surreal to be competing at the highest collegiate level. I had all-freshman honors and was blessed to be placed as the fourth-best javelin thrower in the University of Alabama Athletics' history. Unfortunately, after my freshman track season, I had to have Tommy John surgery with Dr. E. Lyle Cain. The surgery went great, and through many hours of physical therapy, I was back participating in the sport I love.
During my sophomore year, COVID hit, and I could not compete due to the pandemic. However, I was able to continue practicing. I tweaked my shoulder and ultimately had to get a right elbow scope, but eventually, I was back to normal. Thanks to my coach, Tom Pukstys, the throws coach for the United States Olympic Team, I had the opportunity to train at the Kuortane Olympic Training Center in Finland, which was a dream. I was able to hone in on my technique and learn from the best in the world.
Coach Pukstys was hired as an assistant coach at Samford University, and I followed him, transferring to Samford during my junior year. As I was gearing up for the next track season, I began to have discomfort in my elbow. I was evaluated by Samford team physician, Dr. Emily Bell Casey, and she and the athletic training team at Samford nursed me back to health with a lot of physical therapy.
Spring of 2022, was the first season I was healthy for the entire track season since my senior year of high school. I went 750 days between competitions and had to learn how to compete again, but I quickly found my groove. I broke my personal record four times that spring season. I was fortunate to win the Southern Conference championship, qualifying for the 2022 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at the iconic Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus. I had a very memorable experience with a personal-best throw of 67.98 meters on my first attempt, placing 15th in the event, and being designated as a second-team All-American!
I could not compete for two and a half years due to the pandemic and injury. Throughout those challenging times, patience was my virtue. With patience and faith, I overcame injuries and situations outside my control and competed at my highest level. I would not be where I am in my athletic career without Dr. Waldrop, Dr. Cain, Dr. Casey, and the team at Andrews Sports Medicine, who have been by my side through numerous injuries throughout my life. Andrews Sports Medicine truly feels like family, and I wouldn't go anywhere else for sports medicine needs.