“Mind over a matter” may just be a saying to some, but to Jake Ryan it’s much more than that. After being sidelined in the spring with a torn ACL during the redshirt junior linebacker has sped down the path to recovery at a remarkable rate. While that’s certainly a testament to modern medicine and Michigan’s great training staff, Ryan’s mindset is every bit as responsible according to his positon coach.
“I think some kids are just wired different where they’re so strong mentally,” Michigan outside linebacker coach Roy Manning said. “The mind controls everything. (Some kids) are just so strong mentally that they just will themselves to getting back. I always use the example of Adrian Peterson. Why did he get back so quickly last year for the Vikings? It’s just a different kid. So I think Jake hates being out, I think that drives him more than anything, and I think he really enjoys football."
“It just all depends on what my mind tells me what to do,” Ryan later added. “There’s nothing I can’t do right now. But I’m just going through it [and] doing the best I can with it. Getting as much treatment [and] therapy as I can.”
Looking back on the experience Ryan says he gave himself little if any time to wallow in self-pity. If there was a moment of sadness it was in the instant he realized the severity of his injury.
“I took a cut and it just went out to my right, and tore it,” Ryan recalled. “I knew when it happened (it was torn).”
Not long after that his mind focused on a much more productive thought.
“When in the hell am I going to be back and what can I do to be back as fast as I can,” Ryan stated. “When I had my surgery I kind of took it from there and said, ‘six months is kind of my goal. That’s when you get back to 100 percent.’ I think that’s still my goal right now. Trying to work towards that.”
He appears to be on track to meet that goal, possibly with time to spare. That said, Ryan insists his determination to get back won’t override good common sense. He has had enough conversations with his trainers, doctors, and teammates that have rehabbed from the same injury to know just how harm rushing things could do.
Said Ryan, “I’ve talked to Blake [Countess] and Chris Wormley. They did it last year. They had similar things to me. Just talking to them is kind of helpful.”
“I’m pushing as hard as I can but I’m not going to do anything that they’re telling me not to do. So I’m not going to go all out in practice. I’m not going to tackle and stuff like that. But I’m definitely doing as much as I can right now.”
When he finally does retake the field… likely sometime in October… he plans to savor every snap he plays like he never has before.
“You can’t take it for granted,” he said. “I tweeted it one time. I said, ‘there are no bad days.’ So, I’m kind of living by that. Taylor Lewan says it all the time. I’m kind of going off of that, kind of take one day at a time, and see where we can go from there.”