SDSU’s Andrews shows perseverance, determination
In the hard-hitting game of football, serious injuries are common, and recovering from these setbacks can be very difficult. Months of rehabilitation can be physically and mentally draining, and it’s often hard to stay motivated.
Although the road to recovery is taxing, the reward of making it back onto the playing field can be well worth it. Imagine, however, finally making it back and suffering another serious injury soon after.
For San Diego State linebacker Rob Andrews, this became his reality.
A native of Pleasanton, Calif., Andrews came to San Diego State after a successful prep career at Foothill High School. He started at linebacker and fullback, and ran for over 1,000 yards his senior year while also recording 94 tackles and eight sacks.
After redshirting his first season, Andrews saw action in five games in the 2009 season. Heading into his redshirt sophomore season, he found himself in position to be a big contributor for the Aztecs.
Andrews had a solid season in 2010, playing in all 13 games and starting three times. He recorded 34 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and one bone-crushing sack and forced fumble on then-TCU quarterback Andy Dalton, who is now an NFL starter.
However, in the 13th game, Andrews suffered the first of his two serious injuries. In the Poinsettia Bowl vs. Navy, a chop block from a Navy offensive lineman caused him to tear the PCL and MCL in his right knee, and although it was frustrating, the timing wasn’t horrible.
“The injury was rough, but it was good that I made it through the season and had the offseason to recover,” Andrews said. “That next spring I got to learn more about the defense and I got a lot stronger, both physically and mentally. I found out what it feels like to be hurt and not able to play.”
Andrews spent the entire offseason vigorously rehabbing his knee, and after countless hours of hard work in the training room, he found himself back in action for the start of the 2011 season. Unfortunately, he was only able to play four games before suffering a season-ending foot injury.
“The second injury was really hard,” Andrews said. “I was expecting to have a big year and play a lot, and then I broke my foot and was out again.”
One thing that helped Andrews during his second rehabilitation process was attending weekly meetings with Athletes in Action, a Christian sports ministry that has spread to colleges nationwide.
After being introduced to the group by former teammates Miles Burris and Colin Shumate, Andrews enjoyed the weekly meetings and found it as a great place to become closer not only with God but also with other athletes involved.
With another rehab-filled offseason, Andrews had to dig deep to get back onto the field. Once again, he displayed his incredible perseverance and worked tirelessly to get back into playing shape.
Now a senior, Andrews is healthy once again and is hoping to finish his collegiate career on a high note. How the season plays out will dictate his future plans, notably whether or not he will pursue playing football at the next level.
“It all depends on how the season goes,” Andrews said. “In January, I’ll see what’s on my heart and what I want to do. If that’s not the thing for me, I’ll have a business degree in May and I’ll either move back to the Bay Area and start working there or just try to find a job here.”
Although the injuries have been setbacks for Andrews on the football field, he says they have helped him grow as a person. Most importantly, he has still been able to enjoy his college years and make the most of his time at SDSU.
“I have still had a great time at SDSU and built great relationships,” Andrews said. “The injuries were tough, but it all made me a better person in the end. I’m still happy I made the decision to come here. It was the right place for me to go.”
Highlights from the 2010 game vs. TCU (Andrew’s sack/forced fumble at 0:43)