By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 2/3/13
You could excuse Sean Coleman for believing he’d have no luck at all if not for bad luck.
But the La Salle senior midfielder is thinking only positive thoughts as he walks with a protective boot only four weeks away before the start of practice for the 2013 season.
Coleman, ranked No. 8 in the Inside Lacrosse Young Gun Seniors and a Harvard commit, has sustained a football injury for the second year in a row that figures to largely impact his lacrosse season.In 2012 Coleman played in about half the campaign and admittedly less than full strength while recovering from a broken bone in his foot sustained in the next-to-last game of the football season. Now, he is recovering from ankle surgery to repair a broken tibia and torn ligaments from another football injury.
Each of Coleman’s injuries occurred in the state playoffs – this past injury came early in the Explorers’ PIAA semifinal defeat to Coatesville.
La Salle, the defending Catholic league and District 11 champion, was the state runner-up last year and will clearly go into the 2013 season as a leading favorite to regain the crown it last won in 2009. The Explorers, based on their successful summer season last year, also are expected to be among the top teams in the national rankings.
Coleman said it’s difficult to predict when he’ll return this year – but he’s confident he will come back, and be 100 percent. His doctor, Jamal Ahmad of Nazareth Hospital and the Rothman Institute, originally said it would take 3 to 5 months to return to lacrosse when the procedure was done 7 weeks ago.
But Coleman said his ankle is healing quickly and that he will discard his protective boot in a week and begin rehab. The Explorers’ first game is March 23 vs. DeMatha (MD) at the University of Maryland. The team’s next three games are vs. National powers, 2012 national champ Garden City (March 30, away), Episcopal Academy (April 2, away) and Gilman School, Md. (April 5, home).
“Initially I was upset and frustrated, but having an injury before and knowing what to do, this time there is no reason to get down,” said Coleman in an exclusive interview with TopLaxRecruits.com. “I know I will be back, but I just don’t know when.
“I am not unlucky at all – not even a little bit,” added Coleman. “Honestly, I am grateful for the injury (in 2011) because it’s going to make me stronger as a person when I come back this year.
“I am just doing whatever I need to do to get back. Last year’s injury taught me a lot about how to keep my confidence. I will know how to act. I sure don’t want to be injured and I am dying to be back on the field, but going through this adversity is only going to make me stronger.”
Coleman admits he came back too early last year while recovering from the broken bone in his foot. Originally, doctors did not believe the injury was that serious, but the injury did not heal for months while he walked on it.
Coleman did get back for the Explorers’ drive to the state finals, but he said his confidence never returned, even in the summer. He did help Team Philly win the Under Armour Underclassmen Games championship and then helped La Salle win the Brine Shootout before closing his summer by competing in the Warrior 40 in Commerce City, Colo.
When the fall returned, Coleman showed again that he is one of the best two-sport athletes in the state, helping La Salle win the Catholic League crown. His injury in the first quarter vs. Coatesville in the state semis came as he was trying to get an extra yard or two.
“I caught the ball on the outside and there really wasn’t much hope for the play,” he said. “The guy was right on me and I was fighting to stay up, hoping something would happen. A couple people were tackling me and my left foot stuck in the ground while my body was moving. (The ankle) just twisted and got caught underneath me.
“I knew instantly it wasn’t good. The surgery went perfect. Usually it wouldn’t have been a big deal, but all the ligaments were trashed and he had to do the surgery to fix all the ligaments.”
Coleman – a wide receiver and cornerback – was nonetheless named the Daily News co-Catholic Player of the Year. He finished the season with 64 receptions for 908 yards and 13 touchdowns including 14 catches for 138 yards and four TDs in a triumph over arch-rival St. Joseph’s Prep for the Catholic AAAA title.
“I really need to make sure I am 100 percent this year,” he said. “Honestly, I learned so much last year when this happened. You realize injuries stay with you for a long time.”