Aspen senior Seguin ready to shoulder the load in ’08 | AspenTimes.com

Aspen senior Seguin ready to shoulder the load in ’08

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

Paul Conrad The Aspen Times

ASPEN ” Beau Seguin cut to the inside. He should have turned outside.

The Aspen standout tracked quarterback Anderson Cole’s pass as it fluttered through the dark sky. He never saw Basalt linebacker Willy Klein closing rapidly. Klein squared his pads and delivered the blow, knocking Seguin first into the air, then hard ” and loud ” to the Aspen High FieldTurf.

The standing-room-only homecoming crowd went silent. Something went wrong.

“I had never dislocated my shoulder before, but I knew it was out,” Seguin said Tuesday. “I had this bad feeling, and there was nothing I could do.”

Aspen’s historic season was just beginning Sept. 14 when it lined up against the rival Longhorns. But Seguin’s was derailed in the second quarter.

It took doctors at Aspen Valley Hospital 60 tense minutes to pop his left shoulder back in its socket. He would later learn that he sustained a torn labrum and extensive nerve damage.

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Still, player and coaches held out hope that Seguin would return to the field in 2007.

“Every morning I’d wake up and feel that sucker,” Seguin remembered. “I kept waiting for the feeling to come back. … When I flexed my arm, it was all jiggle.”

For 30 days, Seguin woke up and optimistically clutched his left arm. For 30 agonizing days, he felt nothing.

Reality hit harder than Klein.

While backfield mate Tucker Eason scored 20 touchdowns and rushed for 1,699 yards ” the second best total in all of 2A ” Seguin, a team captain and vocal leader, had surgery Oct. 21. While the Skiers went on to win seven games and clinch the school’s first postseason appearance since 1974, Seguin was relegated to the sidelines.

“I was begging every week for him to be able to come back ” for him more than for us,” head coach Mike Sirko said Tuesday. “It was tough on all of us because we knew how hard he prepared. I was sick to my stomach for weeks.”

Seguin, too, struggled to cope with the circumstances.

“The overall feeling is very depressing,” he said. “I didn’t practice or play, I just watched. That’s the worst feeling in the world.

“It’s just something you have to deal with. I tried not to get down on myself. It was my junior year. I knew I had one more year to prove myself.”

The season was not completely lost. Coaches, aware of the then junior’s importance to the team both on and off the field, made a concerted effort to keep Seguin as involved as possible.

“He wasn’t there to be a leader on the field, but he was a leader in the locker room,” Aspen assistant Chris Peshek said. “We engaged him, encouraged him to get involved. We told him not to be a passive bystander and that he had a lot to contribute. I think that brightened his outlook.”

Seguin didn’t miss a practice the rest of the season. He was on the sidelines for every game during his team’s improbable run to the playoffs ” he even suited up a few times when coaches and trainers weren’t watching, he joked.

He maintained his status as a team captain through it all ” coaches even gave him the option of participating in coin tosses before games. Seguin declined, saying he didn’t want the Skiers to show any signs of weakness.

Weakness has never been part of Seguin’s vocabulary. The day after surgery, he began rehabilitation at The Aspen Club.

“It was hell. It was one of the most excruciating days of my life, other than the injury,” he said. “I was in there every day. It was all I cared about. Nothing else.”

Seguin embraced his new challenge. He was so eager, in fact, that Peshek, a physical therapist at the club, tried to reign in the impatient player.

“Instead of asking him to do certain things, I had to tell him to go slow and not to do too much,” Peshek said. “He had to get the motion back before he worked on the strength and let the healing process take hold.”

Little by little, Seguin progressed. By two weeks, his range of motion showed marked improvement and, after two months, was close to normal. After four months, he was nearly back to full strength.

Then came the culmination.

Seguin was finally able to deliver a blow of his own. It came during a March lacrosse practice. Seguin leaned in and knocked an unsuspecting teammate to the ground.

“I wanted to hit somebody so bad, and I finally had the chance,” said Seguin, grinning. “There were times when I didn’t think my strength would come back. When I benched and I couldn’t touch my chest, I felt vulnerable. I was so anxious, but I knew I had to be patient. … That moment made everything worth it.”

The grueling rehabilitation. The doubts. The long days in the gym perfecting technique and running abbreviated plays. The early-morning weightlifting sessions before school. It had all paid off.

Seguin had made it back.

“He’s such a hard worker,” Peshek said. “He set a goal before to be better than 100 percent. Now he is.”

The pain that persisted during the start of two-a-days earlier this month is a distant memory. So, too, are Seguin’s lingering concerns about his injury.

Now, he’s ready to look forward.

The coaching staff is equally as excited about the return of one of their most productive big-play threats. Despite playing less than two and half games in 2007, Seguin was the team’s second-leading receiver, returned a kickoff for a touchdown and picked off a pass in the team’s 40-20 regular-season opener against Battle Mountain.

Seguin will see time at tailback and linebacker this season and will also serve as snapper for field goals and extra points.

“After last year, he deserves all that he can get out of this year,” Sirko said. “I wish him and the team the best. … We’re going to expect a lot of him, but he’s got big shoulders.”

And healthy ones, too.

“I was ready to step up last year and now, I’m even more ready,” Seguin said. “I love being back out there. This is like my second home.”

jmaletz@aspentimes.com

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