COLUMBIA — Before his 2011 knee injury, Missouri running back Henry Josey's life consisted of football and not much else.
His diagnosis included a torn anterior cruciate ligament, a torn medial collateral ligament, a torn patellar tendon, two meniscal tears and the question of whether he'd be able to run again. Yet Josey's injuries were just as much mental as they were physical.
"I had to learn to trust a lot of people, instead of always relying on myself for everything," Josey said. "I would say that was the hardest part of it all — having someone help me."
Josey spoke Tuesday at a leadership event at the MU School of Health Professions about overcoming the injury that kept him out of the entire 2012 football season. He said it took him "forever" to find something that finally motivated him to move forward; ultimately, it came from within.
"I would say the main thing that motivated me the most was having my son," Josey said of 2-year-old Henry Josey Jr. "I want to be somewhere in life and be someone for him to look up to and be happy about it. I knew I had something bigger in my mind — I knew he expects a whole lot out of me."
Head athletic trainer Rex Sharp, who helped Josey return to health, also spoke on a panel at the first Operation STEVE, which stands for Serving Through Exceptional Values and Engagement. The lunchtime event at Lewis and Clark Hall, where the School of Health Professions is based, drew about 85 people.
"A successful outcome is built on three things: One is having great physicians; two is a decent rehab plan; but the third thing I have no control over is from inside," Sharp said. "And that's what he's had here."
Sharp credited Josey's perseverance and motivation in pushing through his recovery.
Josey said being a leader means "having the courage, having the faith, being determined and having a goal you want to reach in life and realizing that it isn't over yet."
"The main thing I always preach is, 'Lead by example,'" he said. "Having the right mindset to go do something with your life. Everyone leads in their own way."
Seventeen months of rehabilitation and two knee surgeries later, Josey has been back on the football field this season. He said he's motivated to continue playing and staying in school because of his new outlook on life. So far, he's scored four touchdowns and run for 238 yards.
Josey recalled stepping back onto the field:
"I looked up and screamed at God, telling Him 'thank you' for that moment. I've been waiting for it for two years," he said. "Finally getting to that moment was happy for everyone that was helping me get there. It meant so much more, not just to me, but for everyone to see that anything is possible again."
Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.