Kevin Toote and the Freshman Year He Didn’t Expect


Lani Watt, Contributing Writer

Kevin Toote, an Offensive Lineman on the men’s football team shared his experience with getting hurt his freshman year in Fall 2018.

“You have to control what you can. Focus on it,” stated Toote.

Coming into the year he was excited, anxious, and nervous to prove himself. As he finally fell into a routine and settled into a starting position he built a consistent presence on the field. A month into the season he suffered a tear in his plantar plate in his right foot. As the shock wore off and reality set in, Toote emphasized how the gym and staying positive helped him through recovery.

“Don’t dwell or feel sorry for yourself. Just go up. You can always go up. Especially when you’re that low,” Toote said.

He stated that the worst part of his injury was not knowing what was going on. He wasn’t being told any information, all he knew was that he couldn’t play and needed an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging scan).

Getting hurt at the collegiate level can be a grueling thing on the mind, he declared. He explains that there is always someone new rotating in and out of the program, waiting to take your spot. You can get hurt and never touch the field again.

It’s a common fear amongst athletes to feel that if they get hurt they will be written off by the coaching staff. In sports, you quickly learn how replaceable you are. As Toote shared, the scariest part was not knowing how he would come back from his injury.

As his new circumstances set in, Toote shares how at square one and unable to walk, he felt detached and alone.

“Honestly, you don’t have a choice. You either go up or you fall off,” he said.

Following his surgery, he had a boot on his right foot and a determination to return to the field better than he left it.

After months of rehabilitation and wheeling around on a scooter, Toote returned to play in Fall 2019. This experience showed Toote how much he loved football, and the lengths he would go to excel in the league.

In the end, his hard work proved to be worth it as he cleared a path on the field for the program’s current all-time leading rusher, Jhalen Bien-Aime. He also showed strong resilience in other areas by protecting the 2019 NE-10 Offensive player of the Year, Carlton Aiken.

During his current spring season, Toote broke the men’s football team record for bench press, lifting 440 pounds. His freshman year didn’t go as planned but he took the cards he was dealt with and paved his own way.