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Injury sidelines football player again

Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson
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RIFLE – Playing high school football is the dream of many youngsters growing up. In a town like Rifle, wearing that blue and gold Bears jersey is just like a small slice of heaven.At the beginning of this season, starting quarterback Hazen Moss returned for his junior year after being sidelined for most of his sophomore season due to a knee injury. Moss damaged his anterior cruciate ligament just after half time during last year’s homecoming game. Moss was a running back, and in the first half of the game he had already racked up more than 100 yards.His mother, Winette, remembers Hazen wanting to play football for the Bears as long as he knew what football was.”That’s all he’s wanted to do,” Winette said. “For him to be sidelined two years in a row – that’s just a heartbreaker.”On Friday, Sept. 29, as another homecoming game was played, Hazen again was on the sidelines with the rest of his team. However, it was due to another injury that occurred before this year’s season started – Moss damaged both his ACL and his medial cruciate ligament in the same leg.

“Right away, I thought that I would be OK,” he said. “I jogged off the field, and that is when I knew something was wrong.”Since then, even though he wasn’t able to play, Moss is still part of the team.”They’ve kind of been treating me like an assistant coach,” Moss said about his coaching staff. “They let me review and break down tapes with them.”Moss also participates in basketball and track and field for Rifle High, but his feeling for those sports just doesn’t stack up to his passion for football.”Not being able to play has really sucked,” Moss said. “Basketball and track are fun. I love playing those sports, too, but football is just a whole different level.”

Moss had surgery on his knee again on Sept. 20 at the Steadman-Hawkins Clinic in Vail, which focuses on joint preservation methods in reconstructing damaged joints. The clinic is considered by many to be the best in sports medicine at what they do.”They are a fantastic place,” Winette said. “They do athletes from all over the world.”The procedure was a difficult one, and doctors were intending on doing it in two separate surgeries, his mother said. The plan was to do a bone graft first, then in five weeks do the tissue part of the operation. However, Moss wanted to be able to play for his team next year, his senior year.”It was quite a different experience,” he said about the clinic. “Athletes are their specialty. I feel very confident that they did a good job.”Seeing Moss’ determination, doctors went ahead and performed the whole operation in one fell swoop. Moss has to wear a brace for six weeks but he said he can handle it, as long as he has a shot to come back and contribute next year.



Any student athlete knows how troubling it can be to be to suffer an injury, but to be out two years in a row would be just downright frustrating. For Moss, it’s just made him realize how lucky he will be to be able to touch the ball again.”After last year I was thankful for every second I got to be on the field,” he said. “I just hope to be playing for the whole year next year, and do whatever I can to help out my team.”Contact John Gardner: 945-8515, ext. 16604jgardner@postindependent.com


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