By Brandyn Campbell, Player Engagement Insider
This fall, the Evans High Knights (GA) eagerly await the return of Coby Germany. The 6’3”, 225 lb. linebacker was sidelined for much of the 2015 season due to a knee injury, but the lessons learned from his time off the field have fueled him to exceed his previous performances.
Called “the county’s next major recruit” by the Columbia County News-Times at the start of the 2015 season, the paper went on to say that “this kid is the real deal.” The proclamation came on the heels of a stellar freshman season when Germany was named to the national MaxPreps Second Team Defense, which noted the “physical maturity” displayed in his 30 tackles on the season.
Due to the success of his freshman campaign, Germany’s second season was highly anticipated. Unfortunately, a meniscus tear foiled the player’s season not long after it had begun. In Germany’s desire to capitalize on his momentum from the previous year and play the sport that he’s loved since fifth grade, he tried to return to the field before his body was ready. The gut-wrenching reality that his season was over finally set in.
After a month, Germany underwent surgery to repair the torn meniscus. The recovery was painful both physically and emotionally. It impacted all facets of his life.
“Getting hurt was a learning experience,” Germany said. “It hurt my school work because I was really mad and didn’t focus on school. I dug myself into a hole.”
Those closest to Germany, his parents and brother, knew the agony that their son and sibling was going through. They knew how much the injury hurt his body and psyche. But they also were aware that he couldn’t let his pain beat him. “They always said that even if I get hurt, I have to stay focused,” Germany recalled.
And that he did. No longer a victim of his injury, Germany regained control of his life with renewed focus and vigor. He worked with his teachers and got tutors to repair his grades, now earning As and Bs. In setting his sights on reaching the next level of the game, Germany had lost sight of the fact that football is only part of the picture.
“I realized that school is the most important thing,” said Germany. “The first thing that coaches ask about when they talk to you is about your grades.”
In repairing his grades, Germany was rebuilding a critical component of his role as a student- athlete.
While working to feed his mind, Germany has worked hard to get his body back into optimal shape, starting with how he fuels it. He trains for two hours at a time, so his body needs constant energy. In working to get his weight up, he eats a lot of food, all of the time. He always carries protein bars and eats healthy protein throughout the day. Germany is careful to stay hydrated, drinking several bottles of water a day.
While it’s been a tough road, Germany feels that his injury will ultimately make him a better player. “When I was injured, I saw things that I wouldn’t have seen if I was playing,”Germany said.
The field provided real-time, life-size film study that enabled Germany to watch every single detail of every play as it unfolded. He studied the moves of his teammates as well as their opponents. It has all lead to a leap in Germany’s football IQ.
“Now I know some things that will help me to be a better player when I come back,” Germany reflected.
Germany will retake the field this fall with strengthened body and mind, and with his football acumen the best it’s ever been. The linebacker’s 2016 season holds high expectations from his coaches, teammates, observers and, most of all, himself. Germany’s battle to recover from injury has been his most challenging play yet, and he’s met it head-on with courage and resilience. He won’t hold anything back as he returns to the game that he loves. Germany plans to show the world that he’s not just the player he was following his stellar freshman year. He’s even more.