Take a knee

ACL injury shows senior how to persevere, strive for college


Emily Meinzer

Senior Trevor Danley watches his teammates as he puts on his knee brace. Ever since his injury, Danley must take extra precautions when it comes to safety during sports.

Story by Tye Shelton, staff writer

Laces and spikes are two components of life that were major keys to senior Trevor Danley’s athletic career.  A two-year starter on varsity football and a four-year letterman in baseball, his high school career is quite successful. Unfortunately, his junior season of spring baseball was cut short by a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) in the final game of the 2014 football season.  

A six month period of withdrawal from his craft only drove the already motivated Danley even more, prompting a vigorous and trying installment of rehabilitation. With the goal of reaching the next level of collegiate athletics, the journey to recovery began.

“Injuries within sports take tolls, but the hardest part of this injury mentally was the day I was fully released,” Danley said. “Accepting and coping with the uncertainty of not knowing my limits was hard to deal with, especially with the thought of percentages behind a retear.”

With mental duress and rehabilitation in his past, Danley sought after an opportunity to perform at an elite level last summer. He joined a summer travel baseball team based out of Longview and coached by former collegiate baseball player Nico Moran.

“Trevor has taken everything he has been told by coaches and by people who are trying to help him,” Moran said. “He may not play where he once dreamed of, but he has dominated what was put in front of him, and that is enough for someone to make a dream come true for Trevor.”  

As the end of summer approached, Trevor could see his goal of playing at the collegiate level within his grasp. Schools such as Stephen F. Austin, Seminole State Junior College, University of Texas at Arlington, and University of Central Arkansas showed interest in Danley.

After numerous performances in front of big-time names, such as University of Arkansas head coach Dave van Horn, Texas Christian University’s Jim Schlossnagle, and a plethora of professional scouts, his upside promised great talent.

His only setback to some is the “what if?” of a possible retear, or the chance his knee cannot promise him results needed to consistently perform at an elite level. This mindset has caused a change in perspective regarding Danley’s potential.

“Some things I do not understand,” Danley said. “I do not understand the fact that I cannot change I tore my ACL, yet I am stronger, faster and better than pre-injury. It provides a sense of hopelessness telling a kid he has a future in a program, only to break that trust built by a factor I cannot change.”

Through these trials and tests, his grit and will are two things that have remained prevalent within his road to success. Danely has sought out and found strength through strong, divine faith, along with a massive support group.

Athletic trainer Daniel Byrd, who spent eight months working with Danley, knows first-hand of Danley’s determination. Early morning sessions of treatment and rigorous stretching accompanied by strength training in the afternoon.

What started as a simple rehab stint formulated a strong friendship building upon day-long sessions of continual progress. Day in and day out, Danely made it back to his realm of comfort within the white lines of the diamond.

“[Danley] would beat me to the training room most mornings. He is the kind of kid that makes my job easier, coming ready to work everyday,” Byrd said. “Seeing him for the first time in nine months in gear was rewarding. I hope he goes far and does well because he has put in the time and work to succeed.”  

With the wavering uncertainty as to what lies in the future, Danley’s work ethic is one that does not follow suit of his predecessors. He finds motivation to prove to those who do not believe in his talent that past injuries do not dictate the performance level of an individual.

The last fall semester of Danley’s career flew by quickly,and his final high school season approaches. However the lack of college interest has not deterred Danley from hope, but  has given him the will to succeed more than ever. As his fourth and final year of high school baseball commences, his role as captain has taken a new meaning.

“Trevor has always been a great leader,” assistant baseball coach Scott Mennie said. “I have no doubt he will succeed in anything he does in life.”

Hopefully, an offer will come. Hopefully, somebody will be calling. In regards to recruitment hampered by his knee, Danley is in a “do or die” situation. Fully aware, he is heading into this season head first, prepared for anything thrown his way.

“Hearing the words, ‘you are done,’ inflicted pain on me, but I knew that I wouldn’t let myself give up,” Danley said. “All the times crying in the training room, or falling five times the first time I tried to sprint, I knew that it would all be worth it someday, and I think that day will come – the day I step across the white lines of a collegiate baseball field ready to play the game I love.”