After tearing his ACL on January 23rd, New Trier’s senior and starting defenseman Ryan Bower was informed his season was over. Bower was injured in an exhibition game when a player he checked bounced off the boards and landed on his knee.
As a graduating senior, Ryan realized sitting in the doctor’s office that he would not get the chance to skate with his high school teammates again or play in the state championship game. A tough pill to swallow for any young athlete in any sport but the motivated Bower had other plans.
Bower’s underwent a successful surgery on Feb. 13, which was performed by Doctor Roger Chams and immediately began his rehabilitation program at the Illinois Bone & Joint Institute Wilmette location. Bower dedicated himself to his rehabilitation program and even did strengthening exercises and stretches at home on his days off.
Fueled by the desire to suit up one more time with his teammates and best friends, Ryan was cleared to start skating March 21st, just 3 days before the championship game and just 4 weeks after surgery.
Ryan’s hard work and commitment paid off; miraculously only 39 days after his surgery, Ryan did lace up and skate onto the ice with his high school teammates for the last game of the season, the state championship. While he was not an active player in the game, Ryan’s spirited return did help motivate his team for the big game and give a little extra incentive to win.
For New Trier, it was a fairy tale ending, winning the Blackhawk Cup beating Glenbrook North 5-3 in the Illinois State Hockey Championship game. It was an emotional night for everyone involved and a memorable one too.
Ryan’s desire and commitment helped him get back on the ice with his teammates, but the character he displayed in the face of adversity will take him anywhere he wants to go in life. Whether he’s on the ice or not he’ll always be a champion.