Redshirt running back hopes to recover from ACL injury

Peter Holland Jr. // Assistant Sports Director

While some players have already returned on the field from their injuries, redshirt sophomore Napoleon Maxwell has yet to be cleared.

According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association, over 30 percent of injuries encountered involve ligament sprains.

During the 2014 season, Maxwell played six games, rushing for 254 yards and one touchdown that year. With high expectations going into the 2015 season, Maxwell’s sophomore season was over before it started.

Days before training camp, Maxwell was doing drills to prepare for their first official practice when he went down and tore his ACL.

The St. Petersburg native was redshirted and spent his entire season rehabbing his knee. Even going into this season, Maxwell is not quite ready.

Kevin O’Neill was hired as head trainer for FIU athletics last March, following a 20-year career working for the Miami Dolphins, and works on Maxwell’s recovery.

“I tried to take an approach with him in season to work him five days a week. We’re going to give him two good days of recovery every week. Because, the work we are trying to challenge him during those five days is difficult,” said O’Neill. “We’re trying to take a little step forward each week to be incrementally stronger and incrementally better in movement activities that pertained to his position as a running back.”

According to the former NFL Trainer of the Year, one of the exercises he uses for players is cardiovascular workouts, namely stationary biking and treadmills.

“We like him to stay somewhat fit from a cardiovascular standpoint,” said O’Neill.

During the recovery process, O’Neill states the importance of making sure injured players are physically ready, but also see if they are mentally.

“I think that if you know your players, you will have a better understanding of their individual make up, said O’Neill. “Some may required more sensitive handling than others. We always treat them as students, as athletes and interact with other people. “

That includes visiting friends, family members and teammates, said O’Neill.

An ACL injury take saround nine to 12 months to heal, according to O’Neill. Maxwell has not been  medically cleared to participate in football activities going into the Panther’s fourth game of the season.

He is still recovering and is looking forward to being in full pads again.

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