Bryce Collins, right-handed pitcher for the Arizona Wildcats, is midway through his junior year and has yet to see a full season on the mound. During Collins’ freshman year, he blew out his right arm and needed surgery to repair several torn ligaments. With the pandemic putting a hold on sports in general, it has not been easy for Collins, who is anxious to get back on the field, yet in very good spirits about the rehab process.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the athletes at the University of Arizona are unable to use athletic facilities, meaning players like Collins have to adapt. Although he is unable to use the facilities directly, Collins says this has not stopped him from working on rehab every day in other ways.
“I’m always either meeting with someone or working on my own every day,” Collins said. “I have a journal that I use to write down a plan for myself and hold myself accountable. If something isn’t written down, I know I didn’t do it.”
With Collins’ injury keeping him off the field for two long years and the pandemic delaying his return even further, it has not been easy for Collins to stay motivated. Collins emphasized that his teammates have been his light throughout this long road to recovery.
“A couple guys on the team have had the similar surgeries to me and have had issues with the rehab as well,” Collins said. “When I reach out for them for support, I don’t feel quite as alone. Having someone to talk to definitely helps.”
It hasn’t been easy for Collins to be away from the game for so long. His road to recovery has sometimes been frustrating, but he has learned how strong his love for the game of baseball is, even if he is unable to get on the mound.
“It taught me how much I do love playing,” Collins said. “Even though I can’t play, I still feel that energy. I still feel that rush. I’m doing this for me.”
Although Collins is eager to start playing again, he is willing to contribute to the team in any way, even if it means cheering on his teammates from the dugout.
“One of my goals is to be the best teammate I can,” Collins said. “Especially now, during the pandemic, since things have been changing.”
Collins said he is not certain of when his return will be, or what it will look like, as he continues to take things day by day. He says that a successful season for him is being able to get back on the mound, even if it is only for a few innings or less.
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