Brandon Kerns knew he was hurt the second he contested the pass. He felt like a dog—a big one—had latched on to the back of his leg. A hamstring. Not the type of injury a man can will himself through, but then, not every man has the chance to play starting cornerback for a Division I college football team. Kerns was putting in 30 to 40 hours per week lifting, practicing, rehabbing, and watching film. He spent as much time studying coverage as he did studying business and his goal was in reach. Except that hamstring.
“Coaches drop you from their thoughts with that kind of injury,” he said.
He tried to play, but the leg wouldn’t cooperate. He rehabbed for two weeks before getting back onto the field only to reinjure it the second he reached full sprint. He repeated that cycle for six weeks before he demanded an MRI. This was no muscle pull, but a partial tear. He never suited up again. So much scar tissue had built up around the tear that Kerns hasn’t been able to run at full speed without pulling the muscle since he suffered the injury seven years ago.