It happened exactly a year to the day. And Jordan Rose had an awful thought: Could it happen again?
As the senior walked to the batter’s box in Tuesday’s game at St. Anthony’s High School, his thoughts brought him back to last year when one play ended his season and changed his life.
“I couldn’t help but think about the injury,” Rose said. “And then I thought, ‘That’s the past, move forward.’ I’m blessed by the grace of God to be back playing the game I love. It was a freak injury.”
On May 1, 2017, Rose suffered stress fractures in both knees while running through first base in a game against St. Dominic’s. He was transported to Huntington Hospital where he was fitted with immobilizing braces for both legs.
“I hit a grounder to second base and was trying to beat it out,” Rose said. “When I stepped on first base my right leg collapsed. And then I went to catch my balance and the left leg gave out. I just laid there because I couldn’t stand up.”
Rose fractured the growth plates in both knees. He was diagnosed with Osgood-Schlatter disease, which causes a painful bony bump on the shinbone just below the knee and often occurs in adolescents who experience growth spurts and play sports.
The repeated stress of jumping and running can cause the quadriceps muscle to pull on the growth plate where the tendon inserts into the top of the shinbone resulting in an injury.
“I was confined to a modified wheelchair because I had to keep my legs straight,” Rose said. “My whole world changed. Things that I took for granted, like standing or walking, I couldn’t do anymore. I couldn’t get into a car. I had to be home schooled. Everything changed.”
There was no surgery, but Rose was confined for six weeks as he healed. He spent time watching television with his parents, Christine and Michael. His mom would massage his feet to keep the blood flowing and his dad offered moral support.
“I missed the baseball season, school and summer, and mentally that was so hard,” Rose said. “I started physical therapy in June to help me get some range of motion and strength back in my legs. I was basically stuck in a wheelchair most of the summer.”
The first time Rose tried to stand, he fell. His legs had atrophied and he questioned his ability to walk again. “I had to learn how to walk again,” he said. “My feet felt funny and the muscle memory in my legs was gone.’’
He started to ride a stationary bike at the gym, intensified his physical therapy sessions and took his first steps in July.
“My faith really enabled me to get through some difficult moments,” Rose said. “My family, friends, physical therapists, and coaches were all there to support me.”
On the anniversary of his injury, Rose celebrated in a big way on Tuesday. He went 3-for-3 and drilled a three-run home run, his first varsity homer, in St. Anthony’s win over Chaminade.
When he finished rounding the bases the entire St. Anthony’s team greeted him.
“It’s all a blur now,” Rose said. “God is definitely looking over me and He is good. I appreciate everything in my life and take nothing for granted. I’ve learned it can all be taken away in a moment. I’ll choose to live the best way I can and live for every moment.”
St. Anthony’s baseball coach John Phelan said losing Rose last year left a huge void in the Friars outfield.
“There were signs early last season that he had a problem when he hurt his right knee scoring in a game against St. John the Baptist,” Phelan said. “He missed almost a month and in his first game back he went down. It was unbelievable.”
Phelan called Rose “an impact player.”
“He’s a very quiet, respectful young man,” Phelan said. “A guy everyone likes and roots for. It was a long road back and he’s worked so hard to be back on the field.”