By Orrin Farries
Yasser Abdullahi was running a tepid pace for greatness on the basketball court. With a national championship with NAIT already under his belt, he knew the next challenge ahead was for him to become ‘the man’.
It was summer 2017, and having just transferred to Grand Prairie Regional College, Abdullahi knew he had to play the waiting game until he was eligible to play. Nevertheless, seeing an opportunity to gain clout with his new squad, he was there for the first run of the year. Getting into his rhythm in a scrimmage drill, the wheels fell off the carriage.
“I tore something in my knee,” recounts Abdullahi. Before the first ball had tipped off for the Wolves that year, Abdullahi had already felt the bite of the injury bug.
Abdullahi sought out any and all physiotherapists that he could. After numerous conversations, it was evident to the professionals that Abdullahi had torn his meniscus. Given a six week window of recovery, he put his head down and put in the work.
Attacking his recovery relentlessly, Abdullahi knew he had to make his way back to the court, not just for himself, but for the team.
“I felt there was a lot of pressure on me to come back because [the success of the team] depended on being back,” said Abdullahi.
After putting his body through hell and back to recapture his bounce, Abdullahi went back to his physiotherapist. Having seen the strength in his squat and the power in his jump, the physiotherapist cleared him for a return to the court, and none too soon. Having missed six weeks of the season, he was looking at a half of a season at best if he could play the remaining games.
With a green light from the physiotherapist, Abdullahi had climbed the hill of recovery and found himself on the active roster for the 7th game of the Wolves’ season against the Augustana Vikings. His coach ran out his starters from the previous weeks, and brought Abdullahi off the bench in the second quarter.
Sports can be an unforgiving proving ground. Like a vengeful God, sport can quickly take away all that it has given.
“I was probably more eager than I was ready.”
The ball came in for the Vikings, and a long shot was heaved up. One of his first plays back on the court, Abdullahi saw a long rebound coming, and positioned himself for a long rebound, boxing out his opponent, feeling a bump on his back and his knee collapsing.
Five hours from home, at a school he chose primarily to find success on the court, Yasser Abdullahi found himself beyond the climb of recovery hill; there was a mountain to overcome.
This story does have a happy ending however.
Abdullahi got in for surgery quickly, spent some time in Africa to re-center himself, and now finds himself back in his element, back at NAIT, on the basketball team both eager and ready to perform his craft with a talented squad of guys.