When Western men’s basketball sophomore guard and team captain Trey Drechsel got bumped going for a rebound and landed on the side of his foot, he knew it was bad.
“I landed right on the side where I had surgery, I knew something was off. I knew right there it was broken,” Drechsel said.
Drechsel is no stranger to foot injuries. The game against Western Oregon University on Jan. 16 was the third time he had broken his foot and the second time he’s broken the same bone.
Drechsel re-broke his fifth metatarsal, a small bone on the outside of the foot. This type of break is known as a Jones fracture, a common injury for basketball players.
During the entirety of last season, Drechsel unknowingly played on a stress fracture, before breaking it at the end of the season.
“I try to find ways I can still impact the game [from the sidelines].”
“I stepped weird and I snapped it in half,” Drechsel said. “I had to have a screw put through [the bone] and rehab all summer.”
Drechsel admits to taking too aggressive of a recovery so he could begin working out with the team sooner.
However, doctors told Drechsel it was uncommon to rebreak the fifth metatarsal.
“My doctor told me ‘This will never happen again,’” Drechsel said.
Another doctor told Drechsel he had never seen someone break it twice in 20 years.
Drechsel is most likely done for the season after playing just 16 games, he said. Though he could possibly be back in time for the playoffs, Drechsel said he wants to get his mentality in check, something he hasn’t always done in the past.
“Instead of getting mentally right, I was focused on getting really big in the gym, instead of really focusing on what would separate me in these moments,” Drechsel said. “Both times I reacted very negatively. This time I was negative for a week but now with way more perspective, I‘ve been a lot more positive.”
Drechsel is seeing a sports psychiatrist who specializes in mental recovery from injury, something he said helps tremendously.
Though they currently are ranked No. 23 in the country, fellow captain and senior guard Taylor Stafford said the team misses Drechsel’s presence on the court.
“He’s one of our best defenders when he’s healthy and on the floor with us,” Stafford said.
In addition to outstanding defense, Drechsel provides more attacking firepower.
Stafford said most teams have just one or two quality defenders, making it difficult to slow down a Viking offense with three potent weapons in Stafford, Drechsel and senior forward Jeffrey Parker.
“[Drechsel is] also a good leader, he keeps us together,” Stafford said.
That leadership presence off the court is something Drechsel has tried to maintain, despite not being able to contribute on the floor.
“I try to find ways I can still impact the game [from the sidelines],” Drechsel said.
It’s something that isn’t lost on his teammates. Junior guard Blake Fernandez said Drechsel is still a leader for the team.
“He’s a leader on and off the court and he’s very vocal as a leader,” Fernandez said.
Stafford said he can see the positivity in Drechsel’s recovery.
“It’s amazing to me to see he’s still being strong and smiling,” Stafford said. “I really applaud him.”
The positivity is what Drechsel said has defined this recovery in contrast to past ones, as well as an understanding and willingness to let things go.
“I feel I’m maturing more as a person than I ever would have if I never got hurt,” Drechsel said.
Drechsel said the most important lesson to take away from his story is to learn how to push through setbacks.
“I think the part I want people to know the most is how to react to adversity,” Drechsel said. “You can’t say what’s going to happen next, but you can influence them just with your attitude and the way you learn from situations.”