Bruner Gutting Through His Senior Year

Cougar commit Jerry Bruner is playing through some pain in lieu of what would have been season-ending surgery in his final year of high school. After committing to head coach Bronco Mendenhall, Bruner attended BYU's summer camp, where he sustained a foot injury that could have ended his senior year effectively before it even began.

"I broke my foot early on during BYU's camp," recalled Jerry Bruner. "It was a left flank fracture of my left foot. I broke two tendons on top. It wasn't a big break, but I was told I'd have to have surgery and it would take me about six months to recover."

Being that it was his last go as a senior at Evergreen High School, which is in the state of Washington and is just outside of Portland, Oregon, Bruner explored other options that would enable to play in his final prep season.

"We're doing what is called ARP therapy," explained Bruner. "It was an alternative to having surgery and sitting out basically the entire season, so I was all for it. It's helped and I feel that I'm playing very well."

ARP (Advanced Recovery Performance) therapy is a somewhat new medical treatment where an athlete takes a device that is about as big as a standard DVD player and hooks it up to the injured area. The machine then sends electric currents to the nervous system surrounding the injured area, resulting in some amazing healing effects.

"It really hurts," said Bruner. "You just take the machine, and where it hurts most on my foot is where I focus the machine. It sort of gets all the pain out and it really does work."

Bruner underwent intense therapy over the summer in which he'd treat his foot with the ARP machine four times a day, hoping to get ready for the impending football season.

"What I'd do is do the ARP, rest an hour and a half or so, and then do it again," explained Bruner. "I was ready to do anything and go through whatever pain I had to go through to be ready for the season, and now I'm playing and have played every game, so it worked out well."

Bruner is a 6-foot-3-inch, 225-pound running back/linebacker recruit who had his junior season cut short due to another injury, but did enough at the running back position to earn him a scholarship offer from BYU, which he quickly snatched up. This season, Bruner is seeing most of his playing time at linebacker in part due to his injured foot.

"I'm not playing a lot at running back, which is disappointing," said Bruner. "But I'm seeing every rep at linebacker and I've learned to love playing defense. I love tackling, hitting guys and all that. I don't know if I'm the team leader in tackles, but I had 19 total tackles last game, so yeah, I love playing linebacker."

Given his druthers, Bruner would spend his collegiate career playing running back, but is more than willing to spend four years at the linebacker position.

"Wherever they want me," said Bruner regarding what position he will play in college. "I'll give it a try at running back, but if they feel I'd be better off at linebacker, then I'll switch."

Bruner will definitely play his first year out of high school and may leave for a mission, although he doesn't have definite mission plans at the time. Bruner is still strongly committed to BYU and has been in constant contact with the coaching staff.

"Coach Lamb calls me about every other week," noted Bruner. "We talk about how the team is doing, since I don't get to see a lot of games living out of state. He then talks about how I'm doing and all that."

Bruner likes what he's seen from the team this year in the games he's been able to watch. He has been able to see the Cougars perform against Arizona, Air Force and New Mexico, and came away impressed, but not surprised.

"They look really good in the games I've seen, but I knew they would," said Bruner. "I love the defense they run and it's a lot like what we run here in high school. I can see the play and know exactly what the middle linebacker is going to do. I can definitely see me fitting into the system they run at BYU."

For the meantime, Bruner plans on finishing out his senior season strong, as his team is one of the top teams in the state thus far with a record of 5-1.

"I just want to finish out the season, rest up my foot some more, and get ready for college," said Bruner. "I'm excited to be able to play for BYU."

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