Jordan Afo on the Comeback

After suffering a broken back, Cottonwood High School defensive tackle Jordan Afo thought his life was about to drastically change forever. The thought of never suiting up and playing football again was a difficult cross to bear. Fortunately for Afo, he's proven that miracles can happen.

There are all kinds of questions that come to mind when one suffers a broken back. Will the person ever walk again? Will they have normal life? Those thoughts crossed a young Jordan Afo's mind after suffering such an injury during his junior year of high school.

Now in his senior year, Afo has fully recovered and has accepted a scholarship offer from BYU to play football. In addition, he has made his way back onto the field for his final year of high school football.

"Everything is going good and I was able to come back this season," said Afo. "I just worked really hard with my rehabilitation. I really wanted to try and come back for my senior year and play football again, but not only come back but be a starter on the defensive line again."

When he was able to, Afo began his conditioning with the focus of returning to the playing field. Little by little he worked his way back until his doctors finally cleared him.

"Yeah, the first week I began running for the first week but I didn't play," said Afo. "The second week, I was able to run a little bit more and went to go get a checkup from the doctors. I got cleared that day and it was the day of our second game. My coaches suited me up and put me in for two plays just to allow me to see what it felt like. That was a great day for me just to be able to play those two plays. I was a little sore afterwards but the coaches brought me along slowly."

One would never guess that someone who had broken his back would ever play football again, let alone come back and resume a starting role, but that's exactly what Jordan Afo has accomplished.

"I told the coaches that I'm ready to compete for the starting spot now," said Afo. "So they allowed me to compete for the starting spot and I'm the starter now. I'm back as the starting defensive tackle and I'm just trying to do good things on the d-line now that I'm back. I'm just working hard to keep it."

It certainly wasn't expected, but regaining the starting position didn't take long for the talented Afo.

"Yeah, I'm actually very surprised I was able to come back this soon, but I just worked really hard to try and make it back," said Afo. "Actually, a lot of people were surprised I came back. A lot of people didn't think I would play this year and my family just told me to sit out this season because they didn't want me to get hurt. But I wanted to prove that I could come back and play this year and was able to do that. I wanted to play my senior year of high school football.

"I just really wanted to show the coaches that I wanted to do whatever it took to play. I would even jump in on offense just to get on the field. I know the coaches knew that I really wanted to play again, but didn't want to just throw me in right away because they were afraid that I might hurt. When we were about to play Bingham, my coaches asked me if I could do something if I went in. After that I was really hyped up and wanted to give it my all. I was just excited to play again."

Afo does take precaution when playing. He has a back strap that he wears only for football.

"I feel really comfortable wearing it and no one really told me to," said Afo. "I just feel comfortable wearing it, so I do. I do feel a little sore afterwards though, but it's nothing really bad. In fact, I feel really good about where I'm at like nothing happened. I just feel really blessed that I'm able to come back and play."

Not only has Afo enjoyed his return to the field, but he's also had some success as well.

"Yeah, I've been able to get a couple of sacks this year," said Afo. "I think I have around three sacks as a defensive tackle. I also have some tackles but I don't know exactly how many, so things have been going good for me and I'm just grateful that I'm able to come back and play my senior year. I'm really looking forward to getting over to BYU and do my thing over there."


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