Cassen Jackson-Garrison: the Miracle Man

Cassen Jackson-Garrison (VM/Whitney D.)

Sunday night, August 13, Cassen Jackson-Garrison wasn't feeling well. The pain in his side hurt enough to seek medical attention. He was having an appendicitis, and he would need an appendectomy immediately. The starting tailback on Vanderbilt's football team would be having surgery less than three weeks prior to the first football game of the season. CJG did not want to miss the Michigan game.

"I was really upset when this came on and I thought I wouldn't be able to come back," Cassen Jackson-Garrison said. "I worked hard and did extra things to help me come back for this game. Getting to play against Michigan is very exciting."

When Jackson-Garrison first found out he would need surgery, he knew there would be a chance he would miss the first week for sure and possibly two or three additional games. "I am very surprised I was able to come back so quickly," he said. "I heard numerous stories like ‘yeah, I was in bed for two months and couldn't do this and that.' I am back at full speed and healthy. I wouldn't come back if I wasn't ready. I've done full speed blocking and running the last couple of days and had no pain."

Will he actually play at Michigan? According to Commodore head coach Bobby Johnson, "Unless he takes steps backwards, he's going to play. We haven't hit him since he had the operation. If he takes a blow and it's devastating to him, then of course we wouldn't play him."

Some teams might decide to test his stomach out by pounding on it, but Coach Johnson revealed that his prize tailback will be prepared. "He's a strong young man, but he might need extra padding to protect him. Having an appendectomy just a couple of weeks ago, it's pretty remarkable that he's back and running and doing as well as he is."

So, how did Jackson-Garrison recover so quickly and get back into playing shape? According to Coach Johnson, "He's worked hard to come back. He hasn't just been sitting on the sideline yucking it up and drinking Gatorade. Our trainer, Tom Bossung, has done a wonderful job with him as well as the other guys who have been injured. It's an indication that he wants to play."

Does Jackson-Garrison worry about getting hit where the incision was made? "No, I just go out to practice and not really worry about it. I just see how hard I can push myself by running and cutting." He has tested his stomach to see if it hurts, and it doesn't. That's one remarkable recovery, and it qualifies for a small miracle. Jackson-Garrison was a man on a mission, not wanting to miss the game he has been looking forward to playing for months. "Every day you come into the weight room and see that countdown clock, and it's one more day closer, and it's like you can't wait."

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