Football star recovers from injury to reclaim the field

SE Football Player Welton Johnson runs for the Endzone
Welton Johnson runs for the endzone in the game against Henderson State on Aug. 27, 2009; SE claimed a victory of 54-38 in the game, adding to its 7-4 record.

Story By: Jenna Blakely

Staff writer

Everyone has something they have a deep passion for.

“I can’t even describe how much football means to me,” said SE senior Welton Johnson.

Johnson is a corner back and return kicker.

Football is part of his everyday life.

However, last season Johnson tore his labrum in his hip, which isn’t a very common injury.

He said he was out for about 7-8 months but was still able to play the big rival ECU.

“After the ECU game I was out until the end of June,” said Johnson.

His injury was caused by an awkward landing, when he jumped to break up a pass during a game. When he landed, he said it just happened.

“I’m used to being the guy that can play through anything,” said Johnson, “but this injury was totally different.”

This past summer, while most students were relaxing and taking it easy, Johnson concentrated on getting back out on the field.

“I was able to do upper body weight workouts over the summer but didn’t get released to start running until the last week of June,” said Johnson.

Even after surgery Johnson was on bed rest for almost two weeks and then on crutches for approximately six weeks, which he said “wasn’t any fun at all.”

He spent four months in physical therapy after his surgery.

According to Johnson, the doctors thought he might be able to play during the fall semester, but they didn’t promise anything.

Johnson said, “Because of all the physical therapy and swimming pool workouts I did over the summer, it really helped a lot,” said Johnson.

“Especially when I was able to run again, I was a few weeks ahead of schedule.”

For Johnson, the hardest part of the experience was not the physical therapy itself.

“Not being able to work out, run, play football and do the things that I was used to doing everyday was definitely the worst part of the whole thing,” said Johnson.

“I would say this was definitely one of the hardest things I have had to go through in my life.”

Although some people might have given up in this situation, Johnson kept working hard and pushed himself.

When asked how he made it through, Johnson said, “One of the things I pride myself on is setting an example for the younger guys and coming out and working hard every day. After all, that’s how I got to where I am now.”

Since this season will be Johnson’s last year playing at SE, he said his goal was to play the entire season, especially the opener.

“We started off the season with Henderson state in Arkansas,” said Johnson.

“I am originally from Arkansas, so it was great to be able to play a game at home my senior year.”

Now that the season has started, Johnson says he feels great.

“After not knowing if I would play this season or ever play football again, it was great just getting back on the field and being out there with my teammates,” he said.

“To be honest, I didn’t know if I would be the same player after the injury I had, but after playing two games I can definitely say that I feel better than I could have ever imagined and I think that I can have a better season than I did last year,” said Johnson.