Back and better than ever

Sophomore Kyle Marusich overcame an injured back, neck, and knee. His recovery has been hard but has taught him many things.

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“The moments before I was injured it felt like any other hockey game, I passed the puck up ice and saw a black jersey in the corner of my eye,” sophomore Kyle Marusich said. “Before I knew it, I was on the ice in more pain than I could ever imagine.” 

Marusich’s hockey career was pretty normal until one game when he was hit by another player and fractured his L4 vertebrae in his back and his T7 vertebrae in his neck.  

“All the doctors I saw told me I was so lucky– if the fractures were half of a centimeter thicker I would’ve been paralyzed from the legs down.” Marusich said. 

Marusich was in pain for a very long time due to his extensive injuries– injuries that may have left him immobile for life. 

Everyday when I would wake up I would feel numbness and tingling shoot down my legs, and it wouldn’t go away,” Marusich said. “I had to deal with this for about four months until it was completely gone.” 

Marusich was put through physical therapy for his back and neck injuries while he was also attending school. 

“The hardest part about being injured was feeling like I was completely helpless,” Marusich said.  “I was in neck and back braces for almost 6 months, needing to rely on everyone to do my own daily routine things, like carrying a backpack, or even walking.”

After months of physical therapy and pain, Marusich had given up hope. He believed he wouldn’t be able to play football, a sport he loved. 

The hardest part of recovery for Marusich was the mental preparations. His injury held him back, made him more negative, and broke down his motivation. 

“All my doctors said I would most likely never be able to play football or hockey again.  I was heartbroken,” Marusich said. 

Marusich eventually decided to go back to football in the summer. But his back could not deal with the pain and he had to miss all of summer training camp. After more months of physical therapy Kyle returned to the field to play the second game against St. Charles. 

 “I was having a great game, but when the final minutes of the first quarter came I was hit in my knee,”  Marusich said. “I knew something was wrong. I’ve felt similar pain before, it wasn’t as bad as before, but still painful.”

Kyle was told he had a slight MCL tear and a fractured fibular growth plate. Kyle was back playing football within a month of physical therapy and was able to play a total of three games during the whole season. 

 “I was told that the season was over once again.  I told myself that I was going to come back next season even stronger, little did I know I’d be back in a very short amount of time.” 

Sophomore Nolan Graham, a fellow teammate and friend of Kyle, was there to witness his knee injury.

“The moment scared me, I was so excited for Kyle to come back and play football with us and it all ended too soon, like the snap of a finger,” Graham said.

While being injured, Marusich learned many lessons about himself and others. He learned how strong he is and how much the people around him cared for him. 

While I was injured I learned that I am stronger than I thought,” Marusich said. “and that with faith, family, and love I will be able to overcome anything.”