Story by Eli Ruiz
MONTICELLO Monticello’s Shane Jackson shows up for every practice even though the star quarterback is out for the season with a torn ACL. He’s hoping to be ready for the spring outdoor track season.
Monticello High School football coach Matt Buddenhagen calls the season-ending injury to his star senior Shane Jackson, "disastrous."
“He's the only quarterback this program has known,” said Buddenhagen. Indeed, Jackson was an eighth grader when Monticello started up its program in 2008 with a modified team and has been the starter since, maturing into one of the premier players in the region.
Jackson was injured at a prospect showcase at the University of New Hampshire on July 18 during a backpedaling drill where players were required to turn 180 degrees. Jackson says that as he turned his body, his cleat caught the turf and as he put it, "my body continued in motion but my foot was stuck in the turf tearing my ACL."
Soon after his injury, Jackson says that an x-ray showed no conclusive damage, a subsequent MRI, though, revealed that he had completely torn his ACL. The first doctor Jackson saw after the freak injury told him he'd be out of commission anywhere from 8-12 months.
Devastated, Jackson and his family sought a second opinion from a specialist in Long Island who specializes in highly-skilled athletes. He similarly said that Jackson had a complete tear of the ACL.
"He said it [ACL] was completely gone," recalls Jackson, who still attends every Monticello practice. The specialist proposed a method of surgery that entails the grafting of a portion of his own patella tendon to his ACL, a surgery that could see Jackson back in action in as little as four months. "I'll see him the 14th and move on from there," said Jackson about going under the knife.
At five feet, nine inches tall weighing 170 pounds, Jackson runs a 4.3 40 yard dash, bench presses 235 pounds and has a vertical leap of 38 inches. A humble and well- spoken young man with an interest in studying medicine, Jackson is equal scholar as he is athlete, ranking in the top 15% of his class with an 88.1 average and currently enrolled in the New Vision gifted program.
"It's going to be a great experience, said Jackson of New Vision. “I'll be taking all college level courses."
A three-sport athlete, Jackson also competes in indoor track and baseball and hopes to be well soon enough to at least participate in outdoor track once he's healed from his September 14 knee surgery.
Before his injury Jackson was being looked at by several Division I schools like Fordham, Monmoth, Stony Brook, University of New Hampshire and Princeton University. Jackson remains upbeat and insists that he will college play football next fall. Though he insists that he hadn't picked a favorite school yet, Jackson did say, "I really liked the facilities at Princeton and of course the academics there are unparalleled... I went to their prospect camp and they said they liked what they saw."
Jackson certainly seems poised for success and remains grounded, saying, "you know, if this sports thing doesn't work out at least I know I'll have my education."