This time last year, Adam Lane was on top of the world.
After a rushing for 1,000 yards as a sophomore and scoring five touchdowns in Winter Haven’s 2011 spring game, the coveted running back was receiving tons of recruiting attention as he looked forward to his junior season.
Then on Aug. 19, 2011, his world came crashing down. On the last play of the final practice of summer conditioning, Lane landed awkwardly on his leg.
“I made a spin move off of a guy in the secondary and ended up in the air,” Lane recalled. “And I came down in kind of a diagonal way and it just snapped.”
Lane had to be carted off the field and taken to the hospital, but he wasn’t hurting much. He hoped his lack of pain indicted a minor injury.
“At first, I thought it was just a simple break and I’d be back in 4-6 weeks,” Lane said. “But that wasn’t the case.”
X-rays revealed a broken fibula in his right leg, but doctors considered the injury an ankle break because of the closeness to the ankle. The discovery didn’t deliver the good news Lane expected.
“They told me I would be out for the rest of the year and I was really disappointed,” he said. “For the first two weeks I was just completely down. That was my first time ever breaking a bone.”
Following the injury, a big concern for Lane was that schools would stop recruiting him and possibly pull his scholarship. He said Alabama, USF and a couple other schools backed off, but there was one school that stayed supportive from the beginning.
“Florida made the extra effort,” said Lane, who eventually committed to the Gators on Jan. 21. “Every athlete hates to have an injury, especially during the time of being recruited because that’s a crucial time in your life. So I was kind of nervous when I told all the schools. But Florida understood injuries happen and they were still behind me. And that meant a lot.”
Lane credited his teammates for lifting his spirits and helping him get through his recovery.
“I kept going to practice and the guys kept motivating me,” Lane said. “It made me realize that I can’t mope about it. They helped me through the process of being hurt and out for the whole season.”
Even with their star player sidelined, the Blue Devils went 10-1 last season. Those results made Lane even hungrier to return.
“It was kind of blessing in disguise because those guys really stepped up and made things happen,” Lane said. “I was really proud of them and I wish I was out there to enjoy it with them. But at the same time I really saw that team grow right in front of my eyes. It made me want to play that much more.”
After months of rehab, Lane finally got that chance with the start of spring football in early May. On his first day out on the practice field, Lane reflected on the rough eight months he went through.
“I thought about all the things that happened,” Lane said. “Going to therapy and having the desire to be back, all that came into play. I just put all my emotions into one and it helped me ball like I knew I could. I just felt wonderful out there. I had little jitters at first, but once I saw that (my health) was the same, things just clicked for me.”
With 19 practices now under his belt, Lane looks to go out with a bang in Thursday night’s spring jamboree and build off his 305-yard, five-TD performance from last year.
“I’m ready for it,” Lane said. “I couldn’t be any more anxious because I’ve been really practicing hard and working out. Just doing the extra things it takes to show everyone that the injury couldn’t keep me down.”