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Friday, May 14, 2021

Getting back on track

Rudy Mataya practices on the Wade King Student Recreation Center Turf Field. // Photo by Alex Powell

Last year, Western’s annual track and field end-of-the-year barbeque turned into a hospital trip, followed by an 8 month recovery process for junior long jumper Rudy Mataya.

“On the first lap, we were jumping over all the normal [steeples] fine, then we got to the water pit.” Mataya said. “I landed with my right leg first and I just felt it go out.”

Mataya suffered a spiral fracture on his right lower fibula, but did not require surgery.

Mataya’s timeline for recovery was eight weeks in a cast, two weeks in a walking boot and two months in physical therapy. He started physical therapy by going once a week and transitioning to every two weeks.

“Physical therapy was basically just getting my ankle to function properly again by moving it up, down and side-to-side,” Mataya said. “That was the end goal, to get all the motion back.”

During physical therapy, Mataya said his workouts involved going on short walks, calf extensions, yoga ball exercises, squats and band exercises.

The hardest part about overcoming the injury was working for six months straight to get to where he was physically during the previous season, Mataya said.

“On the first lap, we were jumping over all the normal [steeples] fine, then we got to the water pit. I landed with my right leg first and I just felt it go out.” 

Rudy Mataya

“The first time I did a workout was two or three weeks before school started,” Mataya said. “I lost an entire summer of training and that’s where we do most of our work. There’s a lot of competitiveness I couldn’t exert, so that’s built up.”

Mataya would make his return to the team at the University of Washington indoor preview Tuesday, Jan. 17, where he placed 13th in the long jump.

Rudy Mataya holds an x-ray of his broken fibula in one hand and his shoes in the other. // Photo by Alex Powell

“We were having some fun and he did something silly,” track and field head coach, PeeWee Halsell said. “It was sad because it put him behind in his conditioning.”

Mataya is currently contemplating the benefits of redshirting this outdoor season.

“I think [redshirting] would be good for him,”
senior runner Ryan McArthur said. “It would give him a good transition to get a feeling for the coaching again, a little more recovery time and then if he wants to come back for a fifth year of schooling, he can continue to run as well.”

Halsell said there are no plans to change any events in the annual track and field end-of-the-year barbeque and steeplechase.

“I do the barbeque and they do the Steeple for the People. I don’t organize that part of it,” Halsell said. “It’s up to them what they want to do.”

Mataya said he is ready for his redemption in the steeplechase this year.

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