Injury leads to opportunity

Story by Cameron Murry, staff writer

He stands by the goal, ready to take off with the ball. But this time it’s different. Instead of a leather, oval-shaped ball, it’s black and white. Hands-free is a new concept to him.

Transitioning from something that has shaped your life for the last five years to being a newbie in a sport you know nothing about is an experience that can be confusing. Junior Connor Nations had to transition from football to soccer due to a back injury.

“This is my first year playing soccer. It’s been better than I expected. It’s something to get used to because you’re using your feet instead of your hands. I’ve been playing football since middle school,” Nations said. “I played freshman and sophomore year as a safety.”

After injuring his back, Nations had no choice but to discontinue his football career.

“I believe [my injury] was from lifting weights,” Nations said. “I ended up lifting more than my back could hold and I kept on doing squats, even when it started hurting.”

The strain on his back has made Nations more aware of his injury. He now takes precautions while working out as to not further his pain.

“For years it had been bothering me,” Nations said. “It finally got to the point where my doctor told me I didn’t need to be doing that anymore.”

Even though I miss football, I wouldn’t go back.

— Connor Nations

His doctor’s instructions made Nations stop and think about his health. He knew it would be better for him to go to a new sport than to stay with the one that was putting strain on his back.

“My church group plays a lot of soccer,” Nations said. “They were trying to cheer me up and get me to play other stuff. I decided I’d give it a shot.”

His desire to be a tiger athlete has kept Nations going, allowing him to persevere through the difficulties of joining something new.

“I transitioned from football to soccer because I still wanted to play a sport,” Nations said. “Even though I miss football, I wouldn’t go back.”

Nations now knows his body’s limits and how much he can handle when it comes to workouts and athletics.

“If we have to do squats, I don’t put a lot of weight on,” Nations said. “I put less weight on and do more reps, instead of a lot of weight and a few reps.”

Nations has had to adjust to the different rules of soccer.

“Football is something I’ve been familiar with for years and my body naturally moves with how I played safety,” Nations said. “I’m still confused on some stuff. I go with the flow and hope for the best.”