Since he started playing football in middle school, Ripley Vikings’ senior linebacker, Nathan Tucker, has loved the “competitive atmosphere” surrounding the game. After suffering a torn ACL during his sophomore year, he played one game with it torn then required reconstructive surgery. He had to go through pre-surgery therapy to strengthen for surgery then afterwards he started walking again the next day. Before he could return to football, he first had to get the swelling down and flexibility back. He continued with strength exercises to do so. He started squatting weights and built up to running long distances. Finally he could start cutting and jumping again.
“The mental part is the hardest,” Tucker said. “You have to trust your new knee and act just like it’s the original. A lot of guys had the same or similar injury and the best thing about being injured was that you get to mentor these guys.”
He has visited each and plans on going to the U.S. Naval Academy, West Point, the U.S. Air Force Academy, or the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Acceptance into these schools is only by appointment and must be nominated by Senators and the House of Representatives. If accepted, schooling is completely paid for. After four years of schooling, he must serve five years.
Tucker’s favorite memory in football was during his junior year when beating Ravenswood in overtime.
“Time flies,” he said. “It’s hard to believe that it’s already senior year.”