TB AOW: Braden River's Collins Positive Through ACL Injury

By Chris Torello, Spectrum Sports reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, August 02, 2017, 3:05 PM EDT

When adversity comes it's about how you fight back in spite of it. That is even harder to do when you're young and feel like nothing in this world can touch you.

Our Tampa Bay Athlete of the Week knows this all too well. Tyrone Collins has been a breakout star for Braden River's football team for the past two seasons. He is a hard-working student-athlete who has helped raise the Pirates' profile on the gridiron. 

But reality came for Collins in late February when he tore his ACL. An injury never has ideal timing. And considering he had just come off a monster 2016 season as a junior, playing both sides of the ball as a cornerback and wide receiver, this was not the way Collins saw his spring playing out.

On top of that, Collins had been fielding multiple offers from Power-5 schools. Most would feel down. But not Tyrone.

"Things happen to people," said the soon-to-be senior. "So, I just keep going and come back hard. Continue to rehab and just trying to come back strong."

Tyrone's optimism matches that of his head coach, Curt Bradley, who has been by Collins' side throughout this entire process. Bradley keeps everything in perspective; the goal is to make sure Collins is healthy and geared up for college football.

"He has such a bright future and we will just see how the rehab goes. So far so good," said Bradley. "We would obviously love to have a young man like Tyrone playing but he will not play his senior season unless his is 100 percent cleared by the doctor. His future is above and beyond what we can provide for him here at Braden River High School."

What is waiting for Collins is a scholarship to Missouri. The SEC school was quick to reassure Collins that he was going to be part of their plans in 2018 and beyond. They had already offered him, they just wanted to make him aware that they were going to help see him through this rough time.

"Mizzou found out about the injury and called up saying,'we hope everything is okay,'" said Bradley. "They wanted him to know that there was always going to be a spot for him in Columbia, Missouri. They showed a tremendous amount of support. Other offers still came in (some from other SEC schools) but Mizzou left that impression on him."

"The coaches made me feel like I was family," said Collins. "The campus was so beautfiul, it was so different, and I just felt like home."

Tyrone Collins knows he still has some rehab work to do and it will carry into the season. But he is confident he will get back and be even better in every single way.

"Coach Bradley always tells me to never get down and just work hard and strive to be a better player and a better person than I was before this injury. That is what I am doing."

And even if Collins never plays again for Braden River (there is a very real chance he is back at some point mid-season) he has already improved himself away from the field.

"There was some good to this injury," said Bradley. "I never want a player to get hurt. Never. But you take what is given and this gave Tyrone a chance to focus on some academics with online classes. He is going to be set up to graduate early and get to Missouri for spring classes. It all works out in the end."

The gifts and givens of life can be handled different by all of us. But for Tyrone Collins it all comes back to one simple belief.

"When you work hard, great things come."

And when you have the right attiude.