Linebacker Ryan D'Imperio was presented with this circumstance during a spring practice scrimmage when D'Imperio had his leg broken during a freak accident on the field.
"I couldn't believe it was something that was happening," D'Imperio
"It was something I was fearing my whole life."
Being helpless in a bed is a tough feeling for anyone. During this
difficult time in D'Imperio's life, as folks often require the
from close friends or relatives, it was the young man's grandmother that
was a key help.
"I had to drive my parent's crazy, especially my grandmother," D'Imperio
said. "My parents are still going to work, my grandmother is there
everyday. I felt bad for her."
D'Imperio was expected to start for Rutgers come opening day this
but the leg injury took that chance away from him. Last season, he
mostly on special teams in his first season as a freshman. The sophomore
out of Sewell, NJ is working hard to get back to the level that he was
before the injury.
The first action that D'Imperio saw was at the end of the Norfolk State
game. Slowly but surely he is catching up to the speed of the game and
feels that he is getting close to where he needs to be.
"I don't even know the difference, but when I watch the film, you can
some spots where I am a little bit slower," D'Imperio said. "It is
there faster and faster."
The process that D'Imperio had to go through in order to get to this
involved patience. Players are used to getting out on the field and
full speed. However, the coaching staff and D'Imperio realized that a
had to be put together in order to bring him along in small steps to
"With the rehab I had to run and I couldn't run for long periods of
D'Imperio said. "I would have to stop and take breaks and start up
Interestingly enough, the sophomore linebacker thought he would be back
before the season started, while his doctors told him he might miss the
entire season. Being back this quickly is a credit to the hard work that
the New Jersey native put in between the spring and the start of the
"I had the thought that I would just get back and help the team any way
could," D'Imperio said. "Whether it was redshirting or getting in there
This team first approach shot down the notion about taking the starting
linebacker job back. D'Imperio is letting all of those decisions to be
made by the coaching staff and is just worrying about making it as tough
of a decision as possible for Rutgers Head Coach Greg Schiano.
"He caught my eye today (Tuesday) more than he has," Coach Schiano said.
"He did a couple drills where he changed direction and I had to look up
see who it was. He has been looking a little bit slower than he used to
look. He looked more like his old self."
The process is not over, but D'Imperio is going to continue to fight his
way back and work to be the player he was before the injury. The state
mind that he has is positive and continues to push towards the future.
"I feel that I am very close to that," D'Imperio said. "It is hard to
explain, but it feels like I am going and everything is right when I am
out there and it is not like I am trying to favor it but you can see I
favor it. I just have to get over that and get passed that." And once
D'Imperio does take that necessary next step the RU LB corps will be
much better for it.
D'Imperio: Fighting Back From Injury
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