Northridge athlete taking advantage of second chance
Athletes are asked a lot to overcome adversity, even in the worst of circumstances, something Northridge junior Nick Hooley knows all about.
“There’s not many people like Nick who could have this happen to them, that there would be the resiliency through the whole thing,” Northridge Football Coach, Thomas Wogomon, said.
A two sport athlete in football and baseball at Northridge High School, Nick was on his way to shattering school records, until one September night in 2015.
“It was a Friday night of my sophomore year, it was week four at Plymouth. It was a pretty big game, both teams ranked in the top ten,” Nick said.
But in a matter of seconds, everything changed. Nick went into a pile, got his foot stepped on, coupled with the weight of multiple athletes on top of him, and Nick suffered a lisfranc fracture. He had close to double digit fractures in his foot, something doctors say they only see in bad car accidents.
“He’s going to get up you know he tweaked something but he did’t get up,” Nick's dad, Allen Hooley, said.
“I’m like OK get up get up and then I see him grab the coach’s calf just grabbed on and I knew there was something wrong,” Nick's mom, Crystal Hooley said.
“It was awful, I never felt anything like it, felt everything pop, yeah it was definitely close to the top of the scale,” Nick said.
But the news continued to get worse from the doctors.
The injury is severe enough to where it’s likely career ending, I don’t see much else other than fuzing the foot together,” Allen Hooley said.
“And to watch Nick, and his face and the tears on his eyes was hard for a mom. You never want to see your kid hurt,” Crystal Hooley said.
“That’s when it begins to get scary like holy smOKes this is a lot for a 15 year old kid have to go through this for playing a game that he loves,” Wogomon said.
Nick had other ideas.
“I kept refusing to believe that being like no, it’s not true, I’ll be back better than ever,” Nick said.
Two weeks after the surgery, one of Nick's coaches referred him to Dr. David Porter, an orthopedic surgeon in Indianapolis. There, a special surgery that might give Nick a chance to play sports again.
“50/50 shot was worth it, you’re going to have surgery either way, why not go for it,” Allen Hooley said.
“We went down there and just felt this is where we needed to be,” Crystal Hooley said.
“The doctor almost seemed optimistic that this could work, he said he’s seen 80 or 90 of these surgeries work which gave me confidence that I needed at that moment,” Nick said.
One successful surgery and nine months of intense rehab, and Nick Hooley was back. He admits he won't be the same athlete he was before the injury, but he says that's ok with him.
“It’s the little things that matter to me now like running doing things that most people don’t think about that make me pretty happy,” Nick said.
“The big smile on his face and he loves it and as a parent you can’t ask for anything more,” Crystal Hooley said.