Sterlington junior Austin Haman's rapid recovery from knee surgery has surprised everyone, including himself.
When Austin Haman's football season was cut short by a Week 10 knee injury, the Sterlington High junior thought his baseball season was shot as well.
Haman, who suffered a torn MCL, a torn PCL and a torn meniscus, was originally projected to return near the end of District 2-2A play, if at all.
Haman under went surgery to repair the MCL. Doctors allowed the meniscus and PCL to heal on their own.
During the early stages of rehab, Haman began to think that he may be able to return ahead of schedule.
“It healed a lot quicker than I thought,” Haman said. “When I started my rehab, I was able to do more than I should have been able to do.”
Inspired by his progress, Haman grew more optimistic each day.
“I thought I was going to miss the entire season,” Haman said. “When the doctor told me I could start throwing, cutting and hitting in the cage, I thought maybe I would play sooner than everybody was expecting, including myself.”
After missing the first two weeks of his sophomore season because of a car accident, Haman was all the more eager to rejoin his teammates.
“If I was going to war, Austin would be one of the ones I would want to go with me,” Sterlington coach Randy Carr said.
Since returning to the lineup to pitch against St. Frederick on Feb. 26, Haman has basically been limited to pitching.
“I'm at about 80-90 percent,” Haman said. “I'm pretty close to where I was. It's just going to take some time to get back to feeling like nothing happened.”
Haman's next step is shedding his bulky knee brace about a month from now. While the brace serves a purpose, it can also be distracting.
“When I pitch, I think about it sometimes,” Haman admitted. “It's hard not to because sometimes I can hear my brace making noises when I'm pitching. I only have to wear a brace for another month. I'll have to wear it during football season, though.”
Haman never considered giving up football an option.
“Aw yeah, I have to play football,” Haman said when asked if he planned to play next season.
In eight games at running back, Haman was second on the team in rushing with 102 carries for 809 yards and 13 touchdowns.
A two-time All-District selection, Haman led the team in batting (.323) and drove in 16 runs as a sophomore last year.
Until he is able to run more effectively, Haman's primary role will be as a pitcher. Not that he's complaining. Listening to a creaking knee brace is considerably better than sitting on the bench in street clothes.