Travis A 'Bright' Spot on the O-Line

During the Las Vegas Bowl, BYU offensive guard Travis Bright was carted off the field with a broken leg and was rushed to a local hospital. The initial prognoses led Bright to believe he would never see the field again.

When BYU offensive linemen began calling and motioning for team trainers to come over, an immediate feeling of something being wrong filled the air. BYU star offensive lineman Travis Bright, or The Atlas as Jake Kuresa used to call him, was lying on field turf and wasn't getting up.

As it turned out, Bright had broken his leg, and was then taken to the hospital.

"When we were in Vegas and doing the x-rays and all that, I asked the doctor how it would go, and he was telling me that I wouldn't be able to walk for four-to-six months," said Bright. "I thought the Vegas Bowl was my last game."

Not being able to walk, run or train for the upcoming season until as late as June would place Bright far behind the rest of the team for his final season. What's more, Bright wasn't even sure that he would be able to get going by June anyway.

"I just felt there was no way I would be able to begin walking, let alone running, around the month of June," Bright said. "I just felt then that there was no way to get myself to the playing level I was at before in such a short amount of time. I just thought it was over.

"After the doctor told us that, there were a lot of emotions, a lot of emotions. My mother and my wife were both in the x-ray room and they got emotional because I thought, ‘Well, that was my last game of playing football.' So it got really upsetting for everyone."

An emotionally downtrodden Bright flew back to the state of Utah. Overwhelmed and depressed, he received a second opinion.

"When I got here I was told something a little different," said Bright with a smile. "Doctor Fox took another look at it and said it wasn't as bad as what was first said by the doctor in Las Vegas. Doctor Fox said it would be around four-to-six months before you're a full-go. I thought, ‘Well that's much better, much better.' So I got a little boost and just thought, ‘Well, let's see what happens.'"

While laid up, Bright watched highlights of the Cougars' season. The words of Doctor Fox and reliving the excitement of the past season motivated Bright and gave him newfound vigor. He set it within his heart that he would suit up in Cougar blue and white for his final season.

"I've got another chance to see what happens," said Bright. "The training here [at BYU] has been very helpful in getting me back to where I needed to be in such a short time. I also feel that Heavenly Father has also blessed my wife and I with a quick recovery."

Indeed, Bright is quick to not only credit the team doctors and trainers for his speedy recovery, but also give credit to a higher power.

"I feel I've been blessed by Heavenly Father through priesthood blessings," Bright said. "I think it's maybe sort of a miracle, but I believe that if it's important to you, it's important to Him. I guess I can say that it is a miracle. It's been tough, but it's also been good. I have a different perspective now, [going from] thinking that I had played my last play to knowing that is not the case. I'm going to always play as if it's my last play, and if it is my last play, I don't want it to be when I'm taking a play off. I'm trying harder now to finish more and get to the ball more. I have a greater appreciation of all of the above."

There probably isn't a player happier about the return of a healthy and ready Travis Bright than sophomore running back Harvey Unga.

"I love having Travis out there blocking and running," said Unga with a rather large grin on his face. "He's looking really good and healthy and things are looking really good for him. I'm excited for him and to have him back on the line. All of our linemen are take their toll on the defense, but having Travis back is fun out there. I love watching him pull around the corner and pancaking guys."

This week, Bright was awarded by his fellow teammates when they chose him to be a team captain. For Bright, the nomination by his teammates was a humbling one.

"I'm definitely honored and think it's a neat opportunity," said the soft-spoken Bright. "There is a lot more responsibility, and hopefully Coach will delegate more that we can help out with and take … off of him. It's a great opportunity."

With the return of Travis Bright, the offensive line will be one of the best o-line units to take the field at BYU in quite some time. Coach Mendenhall had high praise for his offensive line, and that is partly due to the return and progress of Travis Bright.

"They are, at least in my opinion, the best since I've been coaching here as an assistant or head coach from one side to the other," said Coach Mendenhall. "They're physical and I think they're very well coached and poised and make it tough to get to the quarterback. They're very good run blockers and I'm very impressed."

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