Crippling comeback

After a potentially fatal injury, senior athlete worked to get back on his feet and be a part of the team


Rachel Beach / Legacy Media

Senior Jeff Bowcutt has been playing football got the past ten years. Although his injury set him back, Jeff said that he has been trying his hardest to retain the ability he once had.

It was just a normal day. He was going to a normal practice. Routine. Usual. Standard. Nothing out of the ordinary was supposed to happen.

But then something did.

After taking a hard fall and not being able to get back up, senior Jeff Bowcutt realized that his leg was injured, but it wasn’t until he got to the hospital that he realized how much.

The doctor told him his right femur was broken in half, but he could not believe it. He could not, would not believe that his first year on varsity football was ruined. That something as small as an unchecked hairline fracture he had received his sophomore year could cost him so much. That it could cost him a sport he had been playing for the past ten years.

“I was out for the rest of the season,” Jeff said. “At first I didn’t really feel anything. I could tell that something was wrong. I tried to get up, and I just felt the top part of my leg move but not the bottom. After five minutes, it hurt badly. It was probably the worst pain I have ever felt.”

The injury occurred on a Monday, but the doctors waited to perform the surgery until the following Thursday, for fear of further injuring the leg. They were testing for disease since the bone broke so easily, but because the doctors waited so long, Jeff developed Pulmonary Embolism. According to WebMD, Pulmonary Embolism is normally caused by a blood clot in the leg that breaks loose and travels to the lungs and heart, which is often fatal.

“The possibility of losing a child is something no one should have to feel,” father Michael Bowcutt said. “He was completely fine. He was a varsity football player, a good student and a great person. Then out of no where, he gets injured. I felt completely helpless.”

According to Michael, it was a hard time for their family, but they are so happy that Jeff managed to pull through.

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Courtesy Photo
Having received a hairline fracture his sophomore year, senior Jeff Bowcutt’s right femur broke quite easily when the injury occurred his junior year.

“I was put in the ICU, [Intensive Care Unit], for about two days,” he said. “They were worried I was going to die. [The blood clots] eventually dissolved, but I was in the hospital for a total of 10 or 12 days.”

Having had a major surgery on his leg, which involved inserting 12 screws and a metal plate that runs from his knee to his hip, Jeff had his fair share of the hospital and wanted to go home as soon as possible.

“I was in a wheelchair for three or four weeks, and on crutches for I don’t even know how long,” he said. “I was trying to walk before the doctors told me I could. I tried to do all kinds of stuff before I could. I was still trying to be a part of the team even though I couldn’t play.”

According to Jeff, normal patients took about 12 weeks to progress to crutches, but he only took six, claiming that he had a goal to achieve. The recovery was a brutal, frustrating process for Jeff. His sister, sophomore Emily Bowcutt, understands how hard it was for her brother.

“Jeff is definitely a ‘do it yourself’ kind of person,” she said. “It was really sad to see him struggle so much with his injury and watch him try to do things that he just couldn’t do.”

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Courtesy Photo
Senior Jeff Bowcutt spent about two days in the Intensive Care Unit after having blood clots travel to his lungs.

After spending several months rehabillitating, Jeff was finally able to play spring football.

“It was rewarding to actually play, but it did not feel very good,” Jeff said. “I took some pain medication right before, so that helped a bit. That was my first real game.”

After going through the whole recovery process, Jeff says that he now wants to go into the medical field more than ever. He was also voted “Most likely to save a life” by the senior class.

“I want to go to medical school and become a cardiovascular surgeon,” he said. “I was thinking about going into the medical field before the injury, but the whole process and being the patient instead of the doctor, kind of solidified my desire to go into that field.”

For this past football season, Jeff was able to play as a varsity wide receiver and says he is proud of how much he has recovered and learned from the injury as well as experience.

“I have definitely learned that I should not take anything for granted,” he said. “Anything can be taken away from me and I need to do it, whether it’s football or anything else, like it’s my last, because I never know if I’m going to be able to do it again.”