Friday, May 24, 2024

Dortch finally home from hospital, contemplating playing future

November 16, 2001

Sophomore cornerback Tyrell Dortch had a lot of time to think as he lay in a Madison, Wis. ,hospital bed for more than two weeks.

Most of that thinking involved his future.

“At first I didn’t have a lot of hope for myself,” said Dortch, who returned to East Lansing on Monday after breaking his right leg in the Oct. 27 game at Wisconsin.

“But I had so many people show me how much they cared. It was a real blessing to have that kind of support.”

He’ll need that support as he goes through rehabilitation and waits to find out what future he has with football.

During his 16-day stay, Dortch went through four surgeries to his leg, including two major operations that helped to speed up the healing process and alleviate pressure.

And Dortch, who will be in a cast for at least six to eight weeks, has responded well to the discomfort, MSU head athletic trainer Jeff Monroe said.

“We expect a full recovery in terms of muscle function and actions to the leg,” Monroe said. “Next week we expect him to do light weight exercises under (strength and conditioning) coach (Ken) Mannie’s direction.”

After his cast is removed, Dortch will gradually increase the amount of weight he puts on his leg.

It will take between three and five months for Dortch to see an increase in leg strength and endurance after he’s off crutches, Monroe said.

While bedridden, Dortch said he had a constant flood of e-mails, cards and visits from around the country.

Dortch’s mother Karen and his grandmother Lillie were on hand from New Jersey to support him during his stay in the hospital. Dortch’s mother is now in East Lansing helping her son.

He even had surprise visits from Wisconsin head coach Barry Alvarez who dropped off a Badgers hat and T-shirt with some of his players.

“I was surprised members of the opposing team wanted stop by and wish me well,” Dortch said.

“It just shows that college football is a family, especially in the Big Ten.”

Despite all the kind gestures, Dortch said he made sure not to forget his school ties.

“When coach Alvarez left after dropping off that hat and T-shirt, I gave it to the nurse,” Dortch said.

“I couldn’t wear that stuff.”

There’s still plenty of uncertainty for Dortch, who was regarded as one of the most talented running backs in New Jersey coming out of high school.

It will take about six to nine months for doctors to get an idea if Dortch can play football again.

But in his own mind, Dortch said he is determined to return.

“It would hard right now to go out to the stadium and see the guys play,” said Dortch, who refuses to watch replays of the grisly play that sidelined him.

“I’ll probably be watching the games from my apartment. My desire to get back out there is tremendous. The next time I’m out on the field I want to be fully dressed.”


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