On the mend
Taylor Reich beginning long road back after surgery Posted on 05/09/2012 by PonyFans.com
This was not the way anyone wanted Taylor Reich’s freshman year to end.
The San Diego native spent his first year in Dallas as a backup tackle on the SMU football team, learning to live away from home, getting immersed into the Mustangs’ strength and conditioning program and learning the college game. That all changed April 28 during the Ponies’ final spring practice, when Reich’s spring season ended early and his plans for summer workouts were derailed on a single play.
|Offensive tackle Taylor Reich was told it will be about four months before he can return to the field after surgery to repair torn ligaments in his ankle (photo by PonyFans.com).
“It was the third play of the scrimmage, and it was an outside zone play,” Reich said. “I was blocking out on (linebacker Jonathan) Yenga and a ’backer from the opposite side ran up and tackled the running back by his legs. The ’backer’s momentum spun him around almost 360 degrees … right in to my leg.”
Reich said he believed right away the injury was significant, although he hoped at the time that he was overreacting.
“I knew something was broken right away,” he said. “I heard three pops in my leg and ankle area, and I was basically just being I was just being a baby and thinking it hurt more than it really should have.”
Unfortunately, Reich’s initial assessment of the severity of the injury was accurate. He suffered a spiral fracture in his fibula, and when the bone broke, he tore ligaments on both sides of his ankle.
“The bone, they said, would heal on its own in six to eight weeks,” Reich said. “Then Dr. (John) Baker had an extra look at (the X-rays) and saw that the ligaments in my ankle needed to be repaired with a bolt — basically to tighten things up in there so my ankle doesn’t give out on cuts or anything when I come back. But it took me from being out six to eight weeks to about four months.”
Defensive end Zach Wood and quarterback Garrett Krstich, who will share an apartment with Reich next year, joined Reich’s mother to help move him out of his dorm room. Reich underwent surgery Tuesday morning, a procedure he said was delayed so he could finish his spring classes and final exams.
“That’s why they waited so long for surgery — because it happened right before finals week,” Reich said. “I got all of them done — it was definitely a difficult week with that and having to move out of the dorms, but I got out of it with a higher GPA (than during the fall semester).”
Reich said the pain was “pretty high” Tuesday night, although it is getting better.
“It’s all good,” he said. “It is what it is. I have just got to do what I can to get back now.
“I go back to San Diego Saturday. The trainers wanted me to wait to go home because they were afraid of swelling in my ankle on the plane ride and (the possibility of) blood clots. So I have to take these blood clot thinner shots for like 14 days to prevent it from happening.”
Reich said he is scheduled to have the stitches removed in a couple of weeks, and is not allowed to put any weight on his injured leg for about a month. He will begin his rehabilitation under the guidance of a doctor in San Diego who also is a family friend, and already has lobbied some of his hometown friends to make sure they will drive him to the beach. (“One way or another,” Reich said, “I’ll get there.”)
Reich said he’ll be in San Diego for about a month before returning to Dallas.
“I’ll be here in the summer, taking the second session of summer school and doing rehab here at SMU,” Reich said. “Hopefully, by the time I’m back at SMU, I can start putting some more weight on the ankle, and I can get in and lift more upper body.”
Reich said he has had just one serious injury before, when he tore the medial collateral ligament in his knee in his junior season in high school.
“But I didn’t miss any games for that,” he said. “I played through it. This is the first time I have had surgery. They said four months to get back — that would be sometime in mid-September. We have a big game against Texas A&M, and then a bye week before we play TCU. That might be a good couple of weeks in there to get back.
“I don’t know. I’m going to work hard, but we’ll have to see how it goes. This is kind of uncharted waters for me.”