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Less than five months after ACL surgery, Mabe 'back where I wanted to be'


Broden Mabe has heard all about the Reid Potts story, how the former Nixa quarterback persevered and played all of his senior season three years ago with a torn ACL.

Likewise, current and future Eagles and Lady Eagles are sure to be made aware of Mabe’s story, if dealt a similar fate.

Mabe made his senior season debut in Nixa’s home-opener Tuesday, coming back from surgery to repair torn ACL and meniscus in his right knee less than five months — 140 days to be exact — after he was under the knife.

“This can show them it's in sight if you work hard,” Mabe said of his off-the-charts recovery.

“It’s a great story,” Nixa coach Logan Hughes said.

Like all Nixa football and baseball fans, Mabe did the math after the strong safety injured his knee versus Willard on Oct. 5 and underwent surgery on Oct. 31. With a normal timeline for rehab following ACL surgery consisting of 6-9 months, Mabe was forceed to face the harsh reality his senior baseball season may have been over before it could start.

Initially, he talked optimistically about returning for Districts in May.

“It was sad to think I wouldn't be able to play my senior year,” he said. “I wanted to come back as quickly as I could to get in whatever part of the season I could.”

"When it happened, you felt so bad for him because (his return) was supposed to be the end of April,” Hughes said.

Mabe didn’t give much thought to following Potts' lead and putting off surgery until after baseball season. 

“I barely considered it,” he said. “I was pretty set on getting surgery and coming all the way back. I didn't want to be old and have a bunch of knee problems. So, it wasn't that hard of a choice.”

Mabe’s physical therapy following surgery obviously progressed faster and better than anyone could have hoped.

“It definitely exceeded expectations of what originally was thought. I was advancing through everything faster than originally thought,” Mabe said. “It was a grind the whole way through. Big thanks to all the PT guys for getting me back and strong. They helped me get my confidence back up and make me think I could play again. And, thanks to coach Hughes for motivating me on my way back.

“I didn't lose all my strength (in the knee) while I was recovering and I gained back what I lost pretty quickly,” he added. “That was a big part of why I was able to get back as quickly as I did.”

Mabe received official clearance to join his baseball teammates two weeks ago.

“I passed a functional test from my physical therapist and then I had to go in to for an appointment with my surgeon. He (had) the final say,” Mabe said. “(Dr. Victor Wilson of Mercy Hospital Springfield) gave me the news when I went in for my appointment. He did a great job. Big thanks to him for sure.”

Mabe and Hughes fought temptation to rush Mabe into action last week during Nixa’s three-game swing in California, feeling it would be better for him to gain more BP reps and debut Tuesday versus Glendale.

“He didn't feel ready mentally and emotionally to play last week,” Hughes said. “We thought about him pinch-hitting to get his feet wet. But he wasn't quite ready, yet. He texted me (Monday) night and told me was ready to go whenever I needed him.”

Mabe started at DH and singled in his second at-bat.

“I feel really good for him because he's such a good kid and he worked really hard to get back,” Hughes said. "He's one of our bulldogs. We're going to need him.”

“All the hard I had put in paid off and has got me back where I wanted to be,” Mabe said. “I'm here for the rest of the season.”