Photo courtesy of Austin Crosier Senior Austin Crosier looks to the sideline after a play last year. Photo courtesy of Nick Reca Senior Nick Reca gets taken down by a defender. Sports injuries can be the most heartbreaking experiences a human can go through. Having to sit on the side and watch others participate in your passion isn’t an easy situation.
Athletes work hard to reach their full potential in their respected sport and to be hindered by injury is frustrating.
This was the scary truth for a couple Castleton football players in the 2018 season.
Austin Crosier, an offensive lineman for the Spartans, experienced a frightening neck injury last August.
“My injury last year was the scariest thing that’s ever happened to me. Lying on the ground unable to fully move both arms and legs with an overwhelming amount of pain shooting from the top of my spine all the way down to my low back was a feeling I am never going to forget,” Crosier said.
Crosier wasn’t the only one in complete fear of the situation. His father, Lee Crosier was in awe.
“I thought the worst and thought he was paralyzed but with my medical background I started to talk to him and asked him to move his leg and when I saw it starting to move I was relieved,” Lee Crosier said.
Crosier’s father would soon be hurting for his son because he wasn’t on the field playing the game he loves.
“It was difficult to see him sidelines because he is so passionate about the game and gives his all. I knew he would do whatever it took to get back on the field. I was nervous for his return but after seeing him play in the scrimmage at St. Lawrence, I knew he was ready to complete his senior season,” Lee Crosier said with a smile.
Crosier promised himself he would bounce back. He went from laying in a hospital bed in Rutland questioning if he ever would play again to stepping back onto the field for one final chapter.
“Trusting the process was difficult for me but you can’t rush recovery, you have to listen to what your body is telling you,” he said.
Crosier said he has been doubted for most of his career, but he thrives in proving people wrong.
This injury would just bring another long list of doubters, he said.
The Spartan linemen did just that.
Crosier has strapped the pads back on and is full go. Last August he had hit rock bottom now he is living his dream once again.
“I’ve been playing for 17 years, man, this is a culmination of a dream I’ve had with my dad since I was four years old,” he said.
Crosier isn’t the only Spartan to be coming off a grueling injury. Senior cornerback Nick Reca suffered a torn ACL in the 2018 season and is hungry for his return.
“It was hard to hear my season was ending from the doctor. But within the same day I got over it. Dwelling on it wasn’t going to change anything,” Reca said.
For Reca the road to recovery was a long process. The injury occurred in later October and he couldn’t get the surgery until December. The surgery was the followed by weeks on weeks of rehab and physical therapy.
Throughout the tedious process, Reca went through many setbacks both physically and mentally that challenged him in ways he never thought possible. As a warrior should, he never let it throw him off course from where he wanted to be.
“I experienced a lot of pain in my legs throughout the process just trying to get them back up to speed. There were moments I thought I was taking steps back but I just had to keep a positive mindset moving forward,” he said.
For any athlete, tearing an ACL is a major fear. But, believe it or not, Reca saw it as a good thing.
“I’m actually glad I tore my ACL, because it made me change the way I think. Having a positive mindset has given me more confidence in myself. Previously I was so negative all the time, so yea, I’m glad I got hurt,” said Reca with a chuckle.
This positive mindset has transformed Reca into a brand new person with huge goals for himself.
He is ready to inspire, motivate, work hard, and just be grateful that he is back playing the game he loves.
“I want to show up and be dominant. Most importantly I never want effort to be questioned when I play, I don’t want no regrets!” he said.
The Spartans fell short on Saturday dropping a hard fought game to University of New England by a score of 31-21. Luckily for the Spartans it was a non-conference game. The team is now standing at 0-3 with a huge rivalry game coming up next Saturday. The Spartans are set to host in-state rival Norwich for the annual Maple Sap Bucket Game. Kickoff is at 3 p.m. at Dave Wolk Stadium.