Friday, May 07, 2021

Sports Person of the Week

McCabe Battles His Way Back to the Football Field


Senior offensive lineman Aidan McCabe is hoping to play football for Hand this fall after working his way back from a severe knee injury. Photo courtesy of Aidan McCabe

Senior offensive lineman Aidan McCabe is hoping to play football for Hand this fall after working his way back from a severe knee injury. (Photo courtesy of Aidan McCabe )

Athletes like Aidan McCabe are the reason why Hand football Head Coach Steve Filippone hopes that football is played in 2020.

Two years ago, Aidan was competing in a wrestling match for the Tigers as a sophomore when he heard a crunching sound around his left knee area. Aidan writhed in pain as he hit the ground. While he was expecting the worst, Aidan had no idea that he would have to travel the road to recovery for a year and a half to get back in action.

“I tore my ACL, PCL, and LCL, and damaged my peroneal nerve. I also had a drop foot after my injury, and I had a really difficult time walking,” Aidan says. “The injury happened because I got hooked and tripped. It was the sound of my knee that told me that something was really wrong. Everyone rushed over to me pretty much immediately.”

Aidan and his family searched for doctors around the area in order to rehabilitate his injury. Some of them estimated that it was going to take several months for Aidan to recover from his surgeries before he could even think about walking again. However, after undergoing tendon transfer surgery, Aidan defied the odds and was walking in three months while wearing a brace.

Aidan’s injury forced him to miss his entire junior football season with the Tigers. Now a senior, Aidan has a clean bill of health and is looking to make an impact for Hand as a left tackle this fall.

“My knee is fine now, and I can squat pretty good,” says Aidan. “I’m trying to get back into running now. I’m still pretty slow. In the beginning of quarantine, I was going on runs a lot. Now, I’ve been doing conditioning with the team and just trying to get back into good football shape.”

Aidan started playing football when he was in 6th grade. He embraces the physical nature of football and has always had a passion for the game. Last year, Aidan enjoyed being along for the ride during Hand’s run to the Class L state final, even if he was doing so as a spectator.

“I enjoyed watching my brother [Colin] play and set the record for most career rushing touchdowns in Hand history,” Aidan says. “It was still great to be a part of the team, even if that meant I couldn’t play due to my injury.”

Coach Filippone has been one of Aidan’s biggest supporters as the lineman works his way back to the gridiron. Filippone hopes that he gets to see Aidan suit up for the Tigers as a senior.

“The rehabbing, the commitment to play—Aidan deserves a chance to play this season,” says Filippone. “He deserves an opportunity to showcase his talent and make a name for himself this year. He’s going to be a great offensive lineman for us.”

To say that Aidan is eager to hit the field this year is an understatement. After working so hard to come back from his injury, Aidan doesn’t want to miss out on his senior football season.

“I think everyone is sick of it at this point. We want to get back to normal and playing again. I just hope there is a safe way for us to do it, and I think there is,” Aidan says. “For me, I really want this year to happen, so I can get a chance to show colleges that I can play at the next level. This year will be that opportunity for me.”

Aidan has been weightlifting with his brother and practicing his footwork on his own in preparation to play football. Aidan isn’t going to be wrestling this winter, although he’s planning on joining the Hand boys’ outdoor track team in the spring.

“I want to continue working on my cardio, and track and field is a great way to do that,” says Aidan. “If I keep putting in the work, I think I will be in good shape going forward.”

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