By Joe Lipovski

Photo by Railene Hooper

Only four days before the 2019 ACAC Volleyball Championships, NAIT Ooks starting setter, Mitch Lewington fractured his ankle. Lewington’s injury left the Ooks volleyball team with the task of replacing him right before the tournament.

“It’s definitely flattening. It kinda sucks to practice all year and not be able to play in finals,” said Lewington.

Karter Godin stepped into Lewington’s place for the tournament where the team lost their two games.

“The other person that replaced me was really good, just didn’t really have the experience with the same group of guys. I’ve practiced with the same group for eight months and [my replacement] had two days,” said Lewington.

When Lewington injured his ankle, he was blocking a spike from Lakeland Rustlers’ Matt Peck when Peck’s feet came under the net. Lewington landed on Peck’s feet, rolling his ankle and collapsing to the floor. Even though Lewington takes preventative measures for injuries like taping up his ankles and working with athletic trainers and therapists, he still found himself with an avulsion fracture.

Avulsion fractures happen when bone fragments break away from the bone. Usually a break of this type happens near at the ligament or tendon. In more extreme cases, surgery may be required.

Lewington said this is the worst injury he’s had. He doesn’t need surgery, but the recovery process is expected to take months.

After bing on crutches for two weeks Lewington expects to be in a boot for an additional four weeks. From there he will work with the team’s doctor and training staff for rehabilitation.

In order to keep his mind in the right place, Lewington looks for small victories. He is spending time with friends and teammates while he recovers. He says he must occupy his mind to keep him from dwelling on his current situation.

Lewington is looking forward to training with the team over the summer and he will be playing another year with the Ooks in the 2019-2020 season.