COLUMBIA — Welcome to every wide receiver’s nightmare.
Hickman (1-2) vs. Timberland (3-0)
WHEN: 7 p.m.
You follow your route down the field and see a defensive back closing quickly. You turn back to see the ball, but it’s high enough that you’re going to have to jump for it.
That leaves you a prime target for a defender waiting to make a painful tackle.
Anthony Oetting, a wide receiver on the Hickman football team, knows what it’s like to be on the wrong end of one of these hits. He also knows the struggle it requires to come back from one of them.
As a sophomore last year, Oetting was practicing against defensive backs in an one-on-one drill. He was lined up against Terrell Shannon, who wrestled and won multiple state medals in track.
Oetting ran an out route, but the pass was a little too high. He jumped for it, and Shannon grabbed Oetting's shoulder pads and drove him back down. Oetting landed on a straight right leg.
It was his first rep as a member of the varsity practice squad.
“I just knew something was wrong,” he said. “The first thing I thought was I can’t look like a wimp in front of these varsity guys. I tried to get up and that didn’t work out. I couldn’t move my leg at first. I thought to myself, 'This is pretty serious.' I didn’t know how long it was going to last. It was pretty scary.”
Oetting thought it was a knee injury, but it turned out he had dislocated his hip. He was taken to the hospital, where doctors were successful in putting everything back into place.
“They drugged me and everything, and I was knocked out,” Oetting said. “They had a bunch of people come in and yank it back into place. There was no surgery.”
The injury stunned doctors and physical therapists. The hip is one of the strongest joints in the body. There needs to be a tremendous amount of force to cause damage to the area. They usually saw this type of injury in car wrecks, not football.
Kewpies football coach Jason Wright remembers Oetting getting hurt and came away with a positive impression.
“He’s laying on the ground and immediately they (the trainers) said his hip is dislocated,” Wright said. “It’s one of those things where you go, ‘Oh, shucks.’ I knew it was a very weird, freaky deal. You never would’ve thought it. The guy was so cool and poised. I thought to myself, ‘This guy is tough.’ I mean, if he’s laying there with a dislocated hip.”
Oetting spent about two months recovering, which he said was the most difficult part of the injury.
“Probably not being as mobile, being on crutches and having to lay down all the time (were the hardest),” he said. “There was a certain way I had to get into a car and into a bed. I usually had to have help. My parents had to lay my upper body down and then lift my legs onto the couch.”
He began walking, but his leg muscles needed time to regain their strength — too much time to return to the football team before the season was over. So he put his energy into the offseason.
“Of course, there’s always that parent thing, ‘Oh, no, my child is hurt,’” he said. “I never really thought not to come back. At that point, I was playing pretty good. My doctor told me it would be a freak, super thing to happen again, if it ever did happen, so I decided to come back.”
During the offseason, Oetting added 20 pounds to his now 165-pound frame. He is a starter for the Kewpies this season and has made one catch.