Just when TC Hull was on the verge of a dramatic comeback, the gifted St. Charles East soccer forward is back to square one.
Hull is understandably devastated after re-tearing his right ACL on Sunday, just three days after his doctor and physical therapist cleared him to play after his April injury and June surgery.
The senior has not played in a match this fall but was targeting East’s senior night Thursday for a potential season debut, just two weeks before the postseason begins for the powerhouse Saints.
Hull is the reigning Kane County Chronicle Boys Soccer Player of the Year, having scored 31 goals last season while helping boost East to conference, regional and sectional championships.
His father, Clint Hull, said the plan was to ease Hull back toward competing with some “small-sided” play, such as the 3-on-3 scrimmage he was playing in a neighbor’s yard Sunday evening at the time of the injury.
“It wasn’t slow but there were three guys over 40 all playing, so that should give some idea as to the speed,” Clint Hull said. “The whole concept was to let him get out there and feel [his knee], let him twist and turn and see if he had any concern about how he felt, and he didn’t. He didn’t at all. The way it’s been explained to us is it’s just dumb luck as to how it all happened.”
Clint Hull said the family naturally is “haunted” by wondering if Hull’s aggressive recovery timetable was too swift but he emphasized that his son passed all the medical protocols to be cleared to play.
A Southern Illinois-Edwardsville recruit, Hull made his official visit to SIU-E over the weekend after the unbeaten Saints traveled to suburban St. Louis to participate in a weekend tournament.
Clint Hull said his son will have surgery as soon as possible in hopes of minimizing the disruption to his college career.
But he had his heart set on helping the Saints down the stretch, and the hurdles ahead will be mental and emotional as well as physical.
“The first time you go through it you don’t really know what to expect so there is a certain amount of ignorance is bliss part to it where you don’t know what’s ahead of you,” Clint Hull said. “ … I think the hardest part for TC is he understands what this all means. He understands what surgery all means and the pain and the rehab and all that stuff. That part makes it 100 percent more difficult.”
TC might not want to hear it quite yet, but there are plenty of examples of athletes going on to flourish after a pair of ACL tears, even locally.
Geneva girls basketball senior Sidney Santos suffered a pair of ACL tears in her first two years of high school before going on to earn a Division I scholarship at Oakland (Mich.).
“It’s a cruel thing, but he’ll bounce back,” Clint Hull said. “He’ll be fine.”
Barry picks up another offer: St. Charles East football senior Brannon Barry picked up a scholarship offer from a second in-state, Missouri Valley Football Conference program.
Barry reeled in an offer Monday from Illinois State. The safety/receiver already holds a scholarship offer from Western Illinois, which played ISU Saturday in Normal, a 35-21 Redbirds victory.
• Jay Schwab is sports editor of the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached ay 630-845-5382 or firstname.lastname@example.org.