Justice Hayes (5-foot-10, 185-pounds) was looking forward to having a big senior season and leading his team to a run in the state play-offs. Unfortunately life throws curve balls and tests even the best of us. In the third game of the season, Hayes severely dislocated his right wrist as he pulled down a pass.
"It happened on a touchdown," Hayes recalled. "I went up and got the ball. I then came down on my wrist. It stared hurting after that, so I had my trainer wrap my hand. I wanted to finish the game, so I played. It was by far the worst pain I'd ever felt and I probably shouldn't have played, because I think I probably made it worse."
After a trip to the hospital and four screws later, Hayes was sidelined for the remainder of his senior season.
"Right now I'm going through rehab and things are going well. I still have screws in my wrist. I can't move my wrist until they take them out. I'm getting my finger motion back and then they'll take the screws out in about four weeks. Once they do that I'll be able to get the muscle back in my wrist.
"Right now I'm just taking it one step at a time. I'll be fine. I just can't wait to get back out there and start working. It looks like my football career is over, but I'll be doing other things."
Justice has had more free time which has allowed him to spend more time on his schoolwork, but at there are times he fights the thoughts of being back on the field.
"It's tough, because I want to be out with my teammates," Hayes explained. "I've been playing football every year, and I'm used to being out there. It's different, because I'm so used to being out there. I don't know what to do with myself right now.
"The first couple weeks it was tough, but I'm adjusting to it now. I'm finding my role for the team. I'm just trying to help the younger guys get to where they need to be to help the team.
"My team is doing very well.. My team is doing really well without me though, they're on a three-game winning streak and if we win this game this weekend, we'll make the play-offs Things are getting exciting. It's great to see them do well without me."
Hayes realizes that he is still fortunate. Most of his teammates won't get a chance to play beyond high school. Hayes on the other hand has his future set.
"That's exactly why I wanted to get my commitment over with," Hayes said. "It was in my mind that something like this could happen in my senior year. That's why I committed to Notre Dame, and I'm glad I made that choice. Unfortunately I did get injured, but I'm going to get back out there and overcome this. I'm not even worried about it at all.
"Football is only a small portion of your life. You have a career to look forward to and I'm looking forward to getting my education from Notre Dame. I can't wait to get on campus and live that lifestyle. Everything will be nice for me."
Hayes does plan on competing in indoor track and outdoor track.
Hayes Getting Over Disappointment
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