For Dwight Tucci, the past 10 months have been filled with therapy, frustration, and angst. After a knee-injury took him out last season, the senior close-defenseman has now made his due-return to the field.
For any athlete, especially college athletes, an injury is something that gets forever stuck in the memory. The trigger-sense of whenever the part is touched after it is healed reminds athletes of struggles long-past. Sometimes, you can just tell in the instant something goes wrong, when you get injured, that it won’t be a quick-fix. Then, the days, afterward, when you have to just wait out the healing process, which is literally like watching paint dry. Not only do you get insanely bored, but at times, you’ll get to see your teammates playing, practicing, and running without you. At first, you may enjoy the relief of not having to run with them, but after a while, you start feeling guilty for not being there with them. It’s also an experience of having to explain your injury to 20 different people every day.
Dwight Tucci will tell you that it’s not fun. He says he just took it as it was after he felt his knee pop inward during a game. During a spring season game against Drexel University, Tucci ran the ball up the field and crossed into shooting range. He took his shot, causing his right leg to plant itself into the turf. The cleats that Tucci was wearing stabbed themselves stuck into the turf. He knew that it wasn’t right, and in that moment, his knee popped inward and Tucci fell to the ground. After an MRI a week later, Tucci would be out of game-play for the next 10 months.
As you would figure, Tucci faced the depression and frustration of not being able to come back to play. He knew right off the bat that it would include a long-recovery process, as well as some restrictions with working out. A third of his normal workout had to be shelved due to his leg.
After surgery, Tucci received therapy and rehabilitation for three months until his insurance couldn’t pay for it anymore. That didn’t stop Tucci’s pursuit for recovery though. Thanks to the techniques learned in rehab, Tucci was able to replicate them on his own time. Rehab exercises such as rubber-band stretches, foam-rolls, and one-legged exercises, helped Tucci get back up to speed.
In practice, Tucci had to hold back for most of the fall season. No helmet and gloves until the last practices in November. Now, it’s been nearly four weeks since winter training began, and Tucci states that he’s at about 85 percent back into gear.
“With stop-and-go movements, when I’m playing defense, if I push too hard, it will still hurt. I’m self-conscious, I still hold back on it.” Tucci said.
Tucci is still checking quick and shuffling as a close-defender would, just with a little wrapping on his right leg. We all hope to see him as he takes on the field again.
For now, Tucci just wants to get back to his team and win.
“I want to see them go far, get to Nationals. I just want to be part of it.” Tucci said.