PROVO — While he was trying to make a play during a scrimmage at LaVell Edwards Stadium last August, BYU's Russell Tialavea tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee.
In an instant, his season was over. Months of grueling rehab followed.
A year later, the junior defensive lineman says that ACL injury was one of the best things that's happened to him.
Coach Bronco Mendenhall said Tialavea's comeback has been "one of the great stories of the year," adding that what Tialavea experienced the past year has been a defining moment in his life.
"Yeah, it has," said the 6-foot-3, 300-pounder from Oceanside, Calif. "I think the ACL thing has probably helped me out the most. It's changed my whole life pretty much, along with all the help from coaches and other players. I feel like a new person. I'm just excited for this year. I can't wait until the games start."
To appreciate how far Tialavea has come, it's important to understand where he started. Named the 2004 Avocado League defensive player of the year and a second-team All-CIF selection at Oceanside High School, Tialavea arrived at BYU in the fall of 2005 as one of Mendenhall's first recruits.
Continue Deseret News