It was exactly 100 days ago today, but the memory is vivid as if it just happened last game. It was a sad and scary incident involving a Maryland player pushing him head first into the boards.
It was one of those plays where you hold your breath, and all the sudden, it turns into one of those nights where the final score just doesn’t really matter.
All that matters is an update.
The news of this devastating injury would overwhelm most of us, much less a 20 year old. But despite the uncertainties and possible shattered end to a season, an inevitable long road to recovery was in order.
During this time, Chris Trouba has been an inspiration for his teammates each step of the way.
“He’s been a story of courage, character and rising up in the wake of adversity” said Head Coach Mike Letizia.
And now, Trouba may be one step closer to returning to game action.
“His rehab and recovery have been going really well and with the amount of work he’s been putting into it, it doesn’t surprise any of us in the locker room”
The Johnstown Tomahawks captain was recently cleared by doctors to practice with the team. Trouba laced the skates with full gear while wearing a non-contact jersey, for now.
As for a potential return date, the coaching and medical staff will continue to monitor the situation in the coming weeks but it looks promising.
“Captains like Chris don’t come around often, and I mean that. His leadership is one thing but the respect that he has not only from our coaching staff and his teammates, but the entire NAHL is immeasurable. Given the circumstances of his injury, the fact that he has the opportunity to return to game action this season and help our team gives me goosebumps” said Letizia.
Trouba’s attitude has been so amazing and upbeat during this difficult time that it became a source of inspiration and motivation for his teammates.
“He’s been the biggest leader through all this, this is the type of injury that can mentality affect you but he’s been the most positive” adds Letizia “and when guys see how much work he’s been putting in, it becomes contagious and elevates everyone to do more”
The Tomahawks have 15 wins and 6 losses since losing the grit and consistency of the veteran defenseman.
“His injury was felt by all of us and we came together for him. The way he’s been handling it definitely gives us the drive to stay focus and to do better” said assistant captain Colin Price at Sunday’s practice as he overlooks Trouba working on his shot.
Shortly after been released from the hospital, Trouba had a meeting with the team and requested to help the coaching staff during his recovery.
He’s been sitting in meetings, providing input, watching videos, taking stats and continued to be a vocal presence in the locker room in between periods. All the while following a structured rehab schedule.
Despite the uncertainty, he never stopped believing in himself and pushed hard at getting better and stronger, with the goal of one day getting back on the ice.
And that goal will soon be possible!