Adam Swanson returns to the pitch after years of recovery

TRU Wolfpack welcomes back star player after the uncertainty of injury

Swanson expressed great joy to be back playing the game he loves. (TRU Athletics)

Adam Swanson, a fourth-year midfielder for the TRU men’s soccer program, was one of the brightest signings in TRU history. Fresh from the Vancouver Whitecaps Academy, Swanson approached the team attached with high expectations – and he delivered.

Not only did his tactical maneuvers, and quick speed on the field add to the success of the team, but his positive personality radiated powerful energy.

In November 2017, Swanson’s energy beamed when the team won bronze at the U-sports Nationals in front of a Kamloops home crowd. The celebrations commenced but were brought to a screeching halt on Dec.18, 2017.

Only a few months after the bronze victory for TRU, Adam went skiing in Sun Peaks with his friends; a typical Canadian winter day for Swanson.

Unfortunately, circumstances went from laughter to disaster when Swanson attempted to land a risky trick.

“I knew something was wrong as soon as I fell. My leg just completely snapped,” Swanson recalls, “The first thing I thought was “what have I done?”’, then I saw the bone protruding, and I passed out.”

After a hellish few hours of screams, cries, pain and sorrow, Swanson was finally under surgery and in a hospital bed. When he woke up, the doctor told him that he dislocated his knee in 4 places.

He would not be able to walk again without assistance for months – he most definitely would not be able to run around on the soccer field.

“When the doctor told me I wouldn’t be able to walk, you can just imagine how that felt. I was in absolute distress,” Swanson remembers.

Swanson had to fly home to Vancouver, drop out of school, and return to living with his parents.

His cheerful outlook on life crumbled as he slipped into a dark place, grieving the loss of his favourite sport.

“I left school, I left my friends, and I left the game I loved. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever get those things back, it was the lowest point in my life,” Swanson still vividly remembers.

After months of rehab and endless doctor visits, Swanson received good news; he was deemed able to walk and was told that although possible, it was strongly recommended that he refrain from playing soccer.  However, the only word that registered from the doctor’s conclusion was ‘possible’.

“Everything changed when the doctor said I might be able to play again. A light re-appeared in my tunnel and I spent the next 12 months every day in the gym doing rehab and working on my knee,” Swanson said, “I didn’t take one day off and I kept telling my coach and teammates that I would be back. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

Flash forward to Sept. 1, the season opener of the 2019 season, almost two years since the tragic accident, coach John Antulov gazes down his bench for a substitute, Swanson meets his stare. John calls him to get warmed up and in the 57th minute, Swanson walks back onto the pitch.

He is met with huge applause from the crowd and his teammates. “Goosebumps. It was a goosebumps moment,” Swanson said over laughter, “I wanted to cry. It was such a long journey for me to get back into that position. I worked so hard. It was emotional.”

Swanson played well and helped TRU seal the draw against the number one ranked UBC Thunderbirds.

“The dark times make you appreciate the light in life,” Swanson insightfully commented when asked what he learned from this experience.

Come out and support Adam Swanson as he plays in TRU’s next home game against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. Kick-off is on Friday, Sept.13, at 7:00 p.m. at Hillside Stadium.

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