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Simmons pumped about return from injury
Kyle Simmons takes to the field today, as the Lafayette College football team begins preseason camp.
The Leopards junior cornerback, a Plum graduate, completes a journey back to the field that began last November, when a serious knee injury prematurely ended his 2009 season.
Simmons was cleared by his doctor for full contact with no limitations last week, and, he said, he’s ready to go.
“I’m really looking forward to starting camp,” Simmons said. “Most players dread the start of camp, but I can’t wait. The first time we played a 7-on-7 game this summer, I was overly excited. I was running around like crazy. I was just so glad to be back in it.”
Simmons looks to stay healthy in 2010 after 2009’s string of bad luck.
He separated his right shoulder during one of the final spring practices in 2009 and tore the MCL in his right knee during last year’s preseason camp.
Simmons returned to the field a couple of weeks later and was able to play in the Leopards’ season opener, a victory over Georgetown.
He then dislocated his right shoulder, which put him on the shelf for a week.
Simmons returned for the fourth game of the season and played in five straight games while wearing braces on his right shoulder and right knee.
Through seven games played, Simmons had made 32 tackles (15 solo), and, as a full-time starter, he was looking to close out the season playing his best football.
That is when, toward the end of practice on Nov. 4, he tore the ACL in his left knee.
Simmons had surgery a little over a month after the injury. The surgery was performed by renowned Pittsburgh orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Bradley, who is affiliated with both the Steelers and the Penguins.
Then, the rehab began.
Months of exercises to strengthen the knee brought him to the summer, when he progressed to full running.
Intervals of weight training, agility training and conditioning continued after the spring semester with the Lafayette athletic program’s trainers.
The knee and leg were monitored, and the soreness was managed with ice and other treatments.
While getting the knee stronger and preparing for the fall season, Simmons, an economics major, served a summer internship with nonprofit organization Lauren’s First and Goal.
The highlight of the summer for the group was a noncontact prospect camp on the Lafayette College campus in Easton open to student-athletes entering grades nine to 12 in the fall of 2010.
More than 700 football players attended the Lafayette camp.
All of the proceeds from the camp support pediatric brain tumor research and pediatric cancer services.
Simmons helped put a lot of the organization’s paperwork in order and poured over files from the start of the program in 2003 to this summer.
“It’s such a great cause,” Simmons said. “I’m happy to have been a part of it.”
Simmons said Lauren’s First and Goal reached $1 million in funds raised this summer.
For more information on Lauren’s First and Goal, visit www.laurensfirst andgoal.org, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Lafayette football office at 610-330-5485 or 610-330-5838.
Lafayette is starting its football camp later than most teams because it has a bye the first week of the season. There are only so many preseason practices a program can hold per NCAA regulations.
The Leopards begin the season at home on Sept. 11 against Georgetown.
Simmons thinks Lafayette, with several returning starters on both sides of the ball, can challenge for the Patriot League title.
“We had a great summer,” Simmons said.
“We worked hard to get stronger and faster. We have a lot of dedicated guys. A league title this year is not out of the question. If we play to our potential, I don’t think anyone can stop us.”
Last year, Lafayette finished 8-3 overall and 3-2 in the Patriot League. It was the Leopards’ fifth straight nonlosing season.
Lafayette suffered tough losses in its final two games — a 28-26 setback to Holy Cross and a 27-21 overtime defeat at the hands of rival Lehigh.
Simmons pumped about return from injury
by Michael Love, The Plum Advance Leader (PA)