A Project for Better Journalism chapter

TJ Brown on the Court

One of Northview’s star athletes and former varsity basketball captain, TJ Brown, has been playing basketball since he was 2 and has always been passionate about the sport. He plays point guard and is currently playing varsity basketball for Northview. On June 22, during an NHS summer basketball tournament, Brown came on to the court on a fast break and attempted to do a Euro step, when an offense player dribble in one direction, then swiftly steps in another. When planting his foot to push off to the other side, he felt a snap and immediately hit the ground.

“I didn’t want to look at my knee or anything. People knew exactly what happened and the reactions were crazy,” Brown said.

At first, both Brown and his trainer assumed that it was his meniscus that was injured. He found out two weeks later after getting an MRI, that it was a Grade 3 ACL tear. It tore in two and could not provide stability to the knee joint. 

“When I got hurt, I thought I was going to miss my whole senior season and coaches would not want to message me anymore, because everyone that I talked to before that told me that recovery took 9-twelve months,” Brown said. “I thought I was never going to play, at least organize basketball, ever again.”

The injury took him and those who supported him, through a tough time. He has a great support system of friends and teammates who encouraged him through a time like this. 

“The second I found out I reached out to him and I visited him after surgery. I told him I was there for him, but he didn’t really need words for support. He is a go getter and I knew he was going to recover fast,” Travis Buchanan, one of Brown’s closest friends, said. 

    Brown has had many thoughts regarding whether he would be able to play the same as he used to be able to. Both Brown and his team had concerned thoughts of how the team would adapt when one part of the puzzle is missing. While sometimes these thoughts might have overwhelmed him, he tries to stay out of his head and solely focus on the positives. 

“When it comes to being able to stay in my head and not overthink, honestly it’s simple, think positive, it’s that simple,” Brown said. 

He received surgery on July 17 and has been on the road to recovery since. He recalls the first couple days being especially difficult and tiresome, a feeling that he was neither prepared for nor expected. What came as a bit of a shock to him ended up being a realization of a long recovery process ahead.

“It was tough, the first day after surgery, my leg was completely numb,” Brown said. “Three days after, I had to go in for my physical therapy, and I remember trying to stand up. I started bawling crying cause it hurt so bad. I was not prepared for that.” 

He is currently an impressive two months ahead of protocol, and he was also able to gain full range of motion in four weeks. He is hoping to be back on the courts around the December to January range. Even though he cannot physically play, he is still heavily involved with his team, coming to every workout and giving them motivational talks. 

He is motivation and dedication to the basketball team and the sport itself will surely take him far in his basketball career, as he hopes to continue it in his future ahead. Brown has the diligence and commitment needed for a fast recovery, both physically and emotionally, and although he has had his fair share of ups and downs, his enthusiasm and eagerness to play again has overcome the rest.