Amosu Travels the Long Road to Recovery

Oct. 16, 2013

Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Fear of the unknown. That’s what worries Babatunde Amosu more than anything these days. Not the culture shock, not the medical care, and certainly not the Big Ten competition. What keeps the London native on edge is not knowing when he’ll be able to jump again.

Amosu was Big XII runner-up in the triple jump as a freshman in 2012. He transferred to Iowa from Texas A&M before his sophomore season and preceded to finish runner-up in the same event at the Big Ten Indoor Championships.

He proved he could negotiate a smooth transition between major conferences, but before he could make a run at the outdoor championship, he found himself on the wrong end of a long jump pit.

“I didn’t expect that to happen,” said Amosu, recalling the final day of the Drake Relays when his right knee failed and he tumbled down the runway, coming to rest in the sand. “It was a shocker. I was trying to go for a big jump, and that’s when it happened.”

The Drake Relays was Amosu’s first competition since the conference indoor championships. He landed a personal-best 50-3 1/4 (15.32m) on his second attempt — a mark that ranks sixth all-time in school history — but on the third approach he didn’t make it to step two of a three-step jump.

“I knew something was wrong because I felt a snap,” said Amosu. “My right knee landed on the hop phase, and I just rolled into the pit.”

Amosu said the pain was great, but what really had him concerned was the undetermined amount of rehab required for what was diagnosed as a Patellar tendon rupture.

“At the time no one was really sure. One doctor on site said the injury was rare,” said Amosu. “That was the tough thing, not having any statistics or few already known cases. That made it a little harder to judge when I would be back.”

One certainty was surgery. Two days after the injury, Amosu was on campus and beginning his road to recovery. Nearly six months later, he’s starting to envision a timetable for a rehab period that was once unidentifiable.

He’s beginning to sprint. And it’s possible he may be on the track when Iowa hosts its intrasquad meet on Dec. 7.

“I don’t know when he’s going to be 100-percent, but it’s absolutely amazing the progress he has made,” said UI assistant coach Clive Roberts. “He’s sprinting pretty aggressively right now. He’s not going to be able to jump for a while, but he’s starting to sprint and do everything he should be doing. To see him now, after witnessing him going down and seeing how scary it was, is pretty remarkable.”

Roberts said Amosu’s naturally ability has helped speed the recovery process, but Amosu is quick to deflect the praise.

“All the credit goes to Terry Noonan, the sports medicine clinic, and my coaches,” said Amosu. “I didn’t go home this summer. Terry encouraged me to stay, and he has been a great help, pushing me every time and every day. Coach Roberts and coach (Larry) Wiz (Wieczorek) continue to give me positive support. They’ve been taking good care of me.”

Amosu is admittedly concerned the injury may cost him another shot a Big Ten title, but in the immediate future his focus is simply stepping back on the track for the start of 2014.

“I pray God will give me the strength to perform like I had before the injury. That’s the plan,” said Amosu. “But right now sprinting (in the season opener) is the goal for me. That’s definitely something I think about. I need to participate with the team.”