Local Sports

Duncan overcomes knee injury to realize dream of being college athlete

Shelbyville senior Connor Duncan was on the path to playing football at Wabash College. A pregame knee injury on Oct. 6 ended that dream.

What Duncan did not realize was a new option would present itself.

On Wednesday, Duncan signed his letter of intent to compete as a track and field athlete at Franklin College and study Sports Medicine.

“Wabash was the top contender. They were texting me, calling me and emailing me,” said Duncan Wednesday night after friends and family celebrated his accomplishment in the Golden Bear Room at Shelbyville High School. “I am definitely not complaining. I was thinking football all the way up to the injury. God had a plan for me and that plan is track.”

Duncan and the Golden Bears were preparing for kickoff Oct. 6 at McKeand Stadium against Mt. Vernon. Duncan’s right knee buckled and the starting offensive lineman’s career was over.

“I tore the ligament that holds the kneecap in place,” he said. “The only thing keeping the kneecap intact was all the fluid and cartilage and bone floating around inside my knee.”



The severity of the injury meant playing collegiate football was likely not an option.

“I never felt depression but I lost my sense of relying on myself,” he explained. “The first couple of days after (the injury), mom had to help me shower. I couldn’t get up and down the stairs well.

“After I looked at the big picture, it’s not that bad. It definitely did suck walking away from the sport I love.”

Duncan had made his peace with not playing football again and was searching for his next educational experience. That led to a campus visit at Franklin College.

“(Franklin) wasn’t even contacting me about throwing,” said Duncan. “I was actually on a regular college visit and I ran in to (assistant) coach (Taylor) Sadowski. My admissions counselor had set it up. I am super lucky.”

Duncan had a new, old purpose once again – being a college athlete.

“I am really looking forward to excelling at Franklin,” he said with a big smile. “I am willing to prove I have what it takes to be there and show out for Franklin.”

And there is a glimmer of hope he could return to the football field in the future.

“Franklin was talking to me. If it’s there and I am healthy after my first couple of years at Franklin, it is very much a possibility,” said Duncan of being a potential two-sport athlete. “But right now, it is really not in the picture. Track is something I am super happy to be offered  to do at Franklin.”

Duncan believes he is about 80-85% recovered from knee surgery that left him with two sets of hamstrings and four screws in his right knee. It is good enough to get him started on his senior season of track and field once the weather cooperates.

“I want to finish strong,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of ups and downs in the road.”

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