Determination leads to success
LVN Editor Emeritus
Through determination and perseverance, Fallon’s Brock Richardson overcame adversity due to a rare medical condition and now, as a high-school sophomore, he has become one of the most versatile players on this season’s Greenwave football team.
Shy several years of becoming a teenager, Richardson’s world tumbled down after he learned of a condition that had the potential of keeping him out of competitive sports and on the sidelines.
James Richardson said his son had a piece of dead cartilage that broke away inside his right elbow. He said doctors at Shriners Hospital in Sacramento, Calif., removed the cartilage, but the missing area around Brock’s elbow would require further surgery if he wanted to play sports again.
“It was a long process,” said James of the recovery, “but he can’t be a baseball pitcher or overuse his arm.”
Brock said a lack of blood flow to the elbow caused the problem with the cartilage and it had to be replaced so his elbow wouldn’t lock.
“Doctors took the cartilage from his leg to make the new cartilage (in the elbow) and then they put a cartilage from a cadaver into his leg,” Tami, Brock’s mother, explained.
Brock was first diagnosed with the problem during his fifth-grade year, and the first scope on his elbow took place during the summer. The second surgery followed in his sixth-grade year.
“It will never be a complete, perfect elbow,” Tami added. “The surgery in sixth grade was pretty hard on him, but he seemed to rebound pretty well.”
The recovery took almost two years before he could play football in the Fallon Youth Football League or youth baseball. James, who coached Brock in both sports, said some adjustments were made.
“He played a season as a left-hander in the outfield,” James said of Brock’s return to baseball.
Brock, though, seemed to adjust to football better. As an eighth-grader, he played in FYFL’s Collegiate division as a running back and had a banner season.
“I was pleased with his progress,” James said. “He had a tremendous year, scored 30 touchdowns. He was back to himself and had healed up.”
Brock said he played an entire year both in eighth grade and as a freshman. At the end of last year, Greenwave varsity coach Brooke Hill brought several players up to the varsity for the playoffs with Brock being one of them. That postseason move to varsity inspired Brock more.
“I worked hard in the offseason to play on the varsity level,” said Brock, who is 5 feet, 7 inches and weighs 160 pounds.
Both James and Tami said Brock was determined to make varsity, and teammates who complained didn’t receive a sympathetic ear from him. Tami remembers an earlier conversation with Brock when he couldn’t play during his recovery but only watch and dream.
“You know what makes me mad,” he said to his mother. “People complain about going to practice. I would love to go to practice.”
Brock, though, has become one of the top offensive weapons this year for the Greenwave and has the statistics to show. He snared 38 passes for 655 yards and eight touchdowns, and as a running back, he rushed for 625 yards on 54 carries and scored nine touchdowns. For the season, he has scored 108 points.
Including kickoff and punt returns, Brock piled up 1,507 of all-purpose yards through 10 games not including the playoff game with Spring Creek. He enjoys his role as a running back although he possesses “sure hands” as a receiver. His older brother Connor, now in his second year of playing football at the College of Idaho, practiced throwing the pigskin to his younger brother.
Brock began the season as a receiver, but because starting quarterback Elijah Jackson suffered a season-ending leg injury in September, Hill moved Richardson to running back, a position he prefers, while Sean McCormick moved into the quarterback position. Reid Clyburn started the season as the team’s top running back, but an ankle injury has sidelined him for the second half of the season.
Yet, Brock remains positive about all the changes.
“We’ve had different players stepping up to play,” he said. “We play with what we got.”
Hill said he wasn’t surprised with Brock’s recovery from surgery and the success he has enjoyed this season.
“No. 1, he comes from a very strong family,” Hill said. “Brock is a really good athlete, a focused kid and very explosive, and he works hard. It’s good not seeing any effects from it.”
Not only has Brock prospered as a sophomore but he also excels in the classroom as an A student and plays two other sports.
“I play basketball and baseball, but I like football because it’s more exciting,” he said.