CHICKASHA – Team Captain John Gardner is back in play this season after sustaining an Achilles tendon rupture last year.

Although no one is quite sure how the rupture happened — whether it was when Gardner jumped up for a ball or when he landed oddly on his ankle — Gardner is glad to be back on the field after the long recovery process.

“To this day, people don’t really know how it happened … A couple of boys heard the pop,” Gardner said. “It was a freak injury. Like you say, people say it’s maybe one of those you don’t come back from.”

After months on crutches and in a walking boot, Gardner had to relearn how to maneuver in soccer.

“And then you have to learn how to walk again, you have to learn how to run again. It was tough, but that’s part of the game. Injury is part of the game. It’s hopefully behind me now,” he said. “The hardest thing is having to watch the boys play.”

With already two games behind them, Gardner and the Drover men at 2-0 are on their way to a strong season.

“It’s a good start,” he said. “We just want to kind of go on from there.”

Published: Sept. 9, 2010