Garrison used past injury to help overcome torn ACL
Published: Thursday, August 16, 2012
Updated: Thursday, August 16, 2012 12:08
Overcoming a major injury is a tall task for an athlete at any level.
Eight months ago, West Virginia running back Dustin Garrison suffered both a torn ACL and a sprained MCL prior to the Orange Bowl.
Garrison was forced to watch the Mountaineers bash Clemson from the sidelines and begin the rehabilitation process.
After spending the first few days of fall camp in a limited-contact green jersey, Garrison has returned to full-contact action.
"The knee feels great," he said. "I’ve gone out in practice, made a couple plays and I felt like I was one-hundred percent. I wake up in the mornings a little sore, but that just comes with it. Once I start walking around, I feel fine."
Garrison caught the attention of Mountaineers fans a year ago with his 291 rushing yards against Bowling Green – the most rushing yards in a single game by a Football Bowl Subdivision player in 2011.
Most of those yards came from his ability to cut between defenders and use his agility.
The sophomore back admits this is something that is starting to come back.
"Beginning of camp, it was a little tough. I was wary about going out there and cutting and playing," Garrison said. "But now, I have my confidence up and I’m starting to make the plays I was making before (the injury)."
Just two years ago, Garrison suffered another injury that sidelined the speedy back.
"I broke my collar bone in 7-on-7 during my senior year in high school, and it was tough. I sat out for about six weeks," he said. "But I’m able to look back at how focused I was and how determined I was to get back on the field then. It helps me get through the injury with my knee."
When coming back from an injury, sometimes it is more difficult to find the confidence mentally to compete than it is to overcome the physical pain.
"In the beginning of camp, it was the physical part that hindered me. I was worried about taking at hit," Garrison said. "Then, it was the mental part. My knee felt fine, but I was afraid to do something to make it hurt, but right now, I’m not worried about either. I’m trying to just get better."
The Pearland, Texas, native admits, though, that becoming more comfortable basically comes down to repetition.
"The more reps I’ve had, the easier it’s been to not worry about those types of things," Garrison said. "(Running backs) Coach (Robert) Gillespie does a great job of checking with me to make sure I’m healthy."
The Mountaineers and Garrison will open their 2012 season September 1 against Marshall.
And, the question lingering on the minds of West Virginia football fans is if No. 29 will be ready.
"Oh, yes," Garrison said. "Definitely."