MCC athlete doesn’t let injuries keep him off the team

December 21, 2012

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SCOTTVILLE — Sean Kelley has dreams of becoming a college basketball player. The problem is, the Mason County Central junior has hardly had chance to play the game lately. This isn’t because of his lack of ability but rather because of some physical set backs.
While playing during his freshman year, Sean’s knee was dislocated causing him to miss most of that season. He recovered and was back in shape for his sophomore year. In June of this year he was practicing at the basketball courts at Scottville Elementary his knee was dislocated again.
Then, in September the unthinkable happened. After spending the summer rehabilitating he started practicing again. He went up for a layup and came down on his leg, breaking his tibia bone, meaning many months of recovery and no varsity basketball. He isn’t expected to fully recover until spring.
Sean could have chosen to walk away from the game at that time. He even could have dropped out of school for year, which would have given him additional year of varsity basketball.
“I wanted to stick with my team,” Sean said. “I feel it is important.”
“He’s played with most of these guys since he was in third grade,” his mother, Shelley Hartley said. “He’s played against a lot of the same players for almost as long.”
That decision has been inspiring to other players.
“Coaches have come up to Sean and have told him how inspiring it is to see him stick with his team and also how much they miss him as a competitor,” Shelley said.
“For a long time I’ve wanted to play at Grand Valley State University,” Sean said. “Hopefully I can get rehabilitated and start playing summer leagues and then play on varsity my senior year.”
Though he isn’t playing, Sean is still an important part of the team. Coach Jeff Tuka said Sean has taken on the role of an unofficial assistant coach.
“I might as well get him a blue vest,” Jeff said. “I think sitting out has really given him a new perspective on the game.”
“I certainly see things differently now,” Sean said. “I think sitting on the bench and observing the game will give me a new perspective when I am able to play again.”
Sean also practices with the team. His involvement is limited to dribbling and riding a stationary bike, but he shows up and he offers advise.
His injury is only one of several that have plagued MCC’s varsity team this season. In spite of that, the team has managed to win more games than it has lost.

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