Nunes Gets Encouragement in Recovery

A talk with a Pac-10 quarterback helps speed up recovery process for Upland quarterback...

Upland, California 2011 quarterback, Justin Nunes, has a lot in common with UCLA quarterback, Kevin Prince…maybe a little too much. In common: Character, toughness and the ability to overcome adversity while maintaining the highest moral and academic standards. It seems harder to find these qualities in college football. In a time when arrests, suspensions, drinking alcohol and a whole host of negative press for college football seems to dominate the headlines, there are still a lot of good guys in college football.

The too much in common: having to overcome injury. In Justin‘s second game his junior season in the third quarter he fractured and dislocated his clavicle at the sternoclavicular joint. He finished the game with the injury completing 15 of 18 passes and winning the game. An injury, according to several orthopedic surgeons, would end his season and maybe his quarterback career and left them scratching their heads on how he finished the game. Several weeks later, after Justin sleeping in a chair and wearing multiple braces, he talked his parents into taking him to Stanford to watch UCLA play Stanford. Unfortunately, he was unable to watch his favorite UCLA player Kevin Prince play in that game due to Kevin's broken Jaw.

However, after a tough loss for UCLA, Justin received something much better than watching Kevin Prince play. "I was at the gate waiting for my brother to come out when Kevin came out and I saw him talking to my dad, then Kevin came straight over to me and gave me one of the best speeches of my life." Justin said, "He was talking with his jaw wired shut and spent a lot of time explaining how he was able to come back from injuries and the mindset necessary. He ingrained in me, a never give up attitude that carried me through my recovery and a return to the season, I owe a great deal to Kevin he is truly a great role model"

Justin's dad, Tim, said "we have always been fans of Kevin since we first saw him on the recruiting trail five years ago, but after a tough loss and immediately going over to an opposing team player's younger brother and giving an incredible motivational speech speaks to the deepest level of one's character". "My wife and I saw a level of hope, confidence and conviction in Justin we had not seen before. Justin was 100% sure he would return to help his team, and we would just nod with broken hearts not really believing he would". After two losses in a row for Upland, Justin convinced his very skeptical coaches to put him in the final league game a win or go home situation. "We were so concerned for Justin's safety, we had no idea if he could take a hit and worse yet whether he could get injured worse, but I have never seen determination from a player like I saw in Justin the day before the game" said Upland Head coach Tim Salter. Upland won the game and entered the playoffs as an at large bid. Four more games against four 1st place teams and four wins, Upland won the CIF championship with Justin playing every minute.

Justin's parents, coaches and doctors are all amazed he is 100% pain free and benching 250 lbs, squatting 400 lbs and throwing better than before his injury.


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