Ryan Dougherty hands off the ball in a game earlier this season. He’s been playing with a torn ACL for much of the season and still, Timon finished in second in the MMAA. (Photo by Jeff Barnes)
Injuries in sports are about as common as finding a child who loves receiving presents on Christmas. What isn’t common is watching someone suffer a serious injury only to come back and play through it for the rest of the season.
But that is exactly what Bishop Timon-St. Jude quarterback Ryan Dougherty has done.
Suffering a torn ACL in the Tigers’ season-opening contest against Williamsville South, many thought, including head coach Charlie Comerford, that Dougherty would be lost for the season due to the severity of the injury. However, Dougherty decided to forego season-ending surgery, and missed just three games before coming back to play just as Monsignor Martin league play began.
“Anyone who’s watched him the past month knows that he’s not 100 percent,” said Comerford.
Despite him not being fully healthy and suffering through constant pain, Dougherty has stood tall in the backfield and helped lead his team to a second place regular season finish in the Monsignor Martin Athletic Association. And doing so on seemingly one leg.
“ He’s giving us all he has,” said Comerford. “Just to come out here and give everything when he’s probably less than 75 percent shows that he’s a warrior.”
Dougherty playing through the injury has earned him even more respect from his coaches and teammates than he even already had.
“With him not at 100 percent just means we have to give 120 percent,” said junior running back Adam DiMillo. “We have to step up, and not let anybody get to him. He’s out there for us. We need to be out there for him.”
Comerford feels that it’s Dougherty’s dedication to the team that has earned him the most admiration.
“He’s at every workout. He never misses anything. He’s a team leader,” said Comerford. “He does everything right. He does everything the right way. The kids follow him. I think they know that if Ryan can be out there, he will.”
DiMillo said that Dougherty not being at his best means that he and his teammates have to step up for their quarterback.
Dougherty knows that as a quarterback and a leader it’s his job to be there for his teammates, injury or no injury. He said that it feels nice knowing that his teammates are there for him as well.
“I know they always have my back,” said Dougherty. “Now, with the injury, maybe they block a little longer. They’re the first ones to help me up. It shows that if I go out there and fight for them, they’ll do the same for me.”