LOGAN — Jameson Hartman expected the Logan football team to do something special this season.
He just didn't expect to watch his life-long friends do it without him.
Last spring he was playing in the first round of the soccer playoffs for Logan when he and the East High goalie collided in the open field.
"I tripped over him and my leg just flopped," said the senior cornerback and wide receiver. "Right in the center they both (tibia and fibula) just snapped. It was shock before pain because it's just creepy seeing your leg flop. I grabbed it and tried to pull it back up. Then one of my teammates came over and put me on the ground. Once I realized what was happening, that's when the pain came."
He spent 45 minutes laying on that soccer field while medical personnel stabilized his leg and prepared him for transport to the hospital. Once there, doctors told him how serious the break was and that it likely would require surgery.
Then came the tears.
He was angry that the goal he and his teammates had nurtured since they began playing little league was in jeopardy.
"I just kept asking the doctor if I'd be okay for football," he said.
A surgery that inserted a metal rod and screws into his bones would give him the best chance to recover for at least some of his senior football season.
Logan's head coach Mike Favero said he's seen it before — a senior injured during what should be a student athlete's most memorable season.
"He was going to be one of our best players coming back," said Favero.
The break was so severe, the coach didn't know what to expect.
"We were anticipating having him back late in the season, but we didn't know if he'd be 100 percent," he said. "We just moved forward hoping he'd be back."
Hartman said watching his teammates prepare for the season was painful. There were even times when he questioned whether he wanted do the work required to come back from the injury.
"It was bitter sweet," he said of watching the Grizzlies play their way to an undefeated region title. "I'm happy because everyone is doing good, but sad because I'm on the sideline."
As he watched the team's receivers improve, he wondered if there would even be a place for him if he was able to return. Hartman is one of the team's better athletes and planned to start at both cornerback and wide receiver.
"I'm watching and we have five studly receivers," he said. "I was thinking with that senior superiority — you get your spot back. But that's not the case. You quickly realize you have to work for it."
So he worked hard and about five weeks ago, doctors gave him the okay to play. His first game was against East, and he said he struggled the few times he got in the game as a receiver.
"Sometimes the body is ready to go, but the mind is not," said Favero of the mistakes Hartman made. "It was just due to a lack of reps."
But getting a taste of the game only made Hartman try harder. The next game he played both offense and defense and in the last three weeks he's had three touchdowns and three interceptions.
"At first it was shut down, and I didn't even really want to play that much," he said. "Then I decided I wanted to work for it and see what happens. I think it was coming up just before the first playoff game and I asked Fav, 'How can I get on the field?'"
Favero uses the senior as a situational weapon or when one of the other players needs a break or gets hurt.
Hartman is okay with that and said he's actually enjoying defense more than offense, and he's glad he won the battle to get back on the field.
"It's senior year, and I thought, 'You might as well give it your all and see what happens'," he said. "I didn't want to regret it."Comment on this story
The coach knows he's lucky to have so many options on both sides of the ball.
"It's been a real luxury to have him back," said Favero. "He's battled with (the disappointment) and it's neat to see him get back. He's really helped our team to have success."