anyone were to ask, I've always said that September 23, 2010 may have been my
worst day professionally.
There were quite a few other things that played into that being
the case, but the only one I still remember vividly is when promising Pitt
sophomore linebacker Dan Mason went down with a well-documented horrific knee
Injuries are obviously a part of the game, and when you've been in
the business a while you've seen more than your share of upsetting ones. Dan's
was different though. Looking in the eyes of the athletic trainers and doctors
postgame, this was more than just a season-ending injury. The concern was
evident and your heart breaks - not just for lost success on the field, but for
Dan, there was fear he wouldn't walk normally ever again.
I can't remember Dan feeling sorry for himself, or ever believing
his career was over. He just went about his rehabilitation, probably doing his
best to brush off the people he passed in the hall or on campus that felt pity
for him. There wasn't time for pity in his world. With surgery after surgery,
that's not how you get back on the field.
Instead, the light was still in his eyes and a smile on his face
as he hobbled around on crutches or with an obtrusive brace on his right knee.
He knew something we didn't.
I'm sure no one told Dan what his real prognosis was. Why crush
his spirit when that was all he had to keep himself going? He would figure it
out eventually anyway. Everyone involved in his rehabilitation just continued
working as if Dan were the one that was right.
It's funny what happens when you have faith and believe in
yourself though, isn't it?
Just one day shy of the two-year anniversary of his devastating
injury, Dan Mason made it back on the field for the Panthers. What a fun day
for all of us that witnessed the grueling two-year comeback. I can't begin to
imagine how it felt for Dan and his family.