A Complete Blur

JUSTIN WATTERSON

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I remember the moment like it was yesterday.

I was on my electric skateboard, heading home from work.

I looked both ways, and there were no headlights. I checked again to make sure it was safe to cross.

That’s when I saw the light change to yellow.

The next thing I knew, I was talking to a police officer on the sidewalk.

I was unable to recall the previous few minutes. I had no idea what just happened or how I got there.

It was the night of a horrific hit-and-run accident that could have ended my life.

I had been struck by a speeding car while crossing the street. Thankfully, a pedestrian was able to help me to the sidewalk and call 911.

I don’t remember any of that time.

When the police officer arrived, he drove me home, where I was greeted by the shocked expressions of my roommates.

They had been expecting to have a few teammates over to watch a UFC fight that night, but instead, they were greeted by the sight of me in pain and disarray.

It was a surreal moment as I limped into the house.

I thought it was strange that my elbow wouldn’t straighten, and I had no idea what was going on with my foot.

It wasn’t until my roommates took me to the hospital that I realized my foot was numb. I couldn’t move it at all.

This was the first sign that something was seriously wrong.

A trip to the emergency room confirmed the severity of my injuries. I had suffered a severe concussion and a contusion on the peroneal nerve in my leg.

The doctor assured me that I would regain feeling in my foot in two to three weeks.

Long road to recovery

But it took months.

I couldn’t move my foot at all. It wasn’t until a month after the accident that I was able to lift it ever so slightly in the training room.

It was the smallest movement, but it felt like monumental progress.

I was bedridden at home for the first month, and I was incredibly stubborn about the entire recovery process. I wanted to get back on the track as soon as possible, and nothing was going to stop me from doing so.

But as the weeks turned into months, I started to doubt if I would ever be able to run again.

The entire situation felt like a cruel joke.

I was in the best shape of my life at the time of the accident, and I was looking forward to a successful track season.

Now, it seemed like my entire athletic career was in jeopardy.

Picking myself up

It was a challenging time, both physically and emotionally. I had to learn how to walk again and regain the strength that I had lost during my time in bed.

But through it all, I had the support of my teammates, coaches, and family. They were there for me every step of the way, encouraging me and helping me to stay positive as I worked my way back.

I realize it wasn’t easy for them to see me in such a difficult state, but I’m incredibly thankful they stood by my side through it all.

It was a long and challenging journey, but I was determined to return to the track.

And on April 1, 2023, I received the news that I had been waiting for: I was cleared to start light practicing again.

It was an emotional moment for me, and I couldn’t wait to pick up where I left off.

I redshirted for the entire 2023 season, so I had to sit on the sidelines and watch my teammates compete in my place.

It was difficult to be patient and wait for my turn, but it was also a valuable learning experience.

I gained a new appreciation for the sport, and I was determined to make the most of my time on the track when it was my turn to come back.

I was unable to recall the previous few minutes. I had no idea what just happened or how I got there. It was the night of a horrific hit-and-run accident that could have ended my life. I had been struck by a speeding car while crossing the street. Thankfully, a pedestrian was able to help me to the sidewalk and call 911. I don't remember any of that time.

Back on my feet

And when the 2024 season rolled around, I was ready to compete again.

I had worked hard to get back in shape and regain the strength that I had lost during my time off.

I felt like I was in arguably the best shape of my life before the accident, so I was ready to prove to everyone that I was back and better than ever.

In just my second race of the season, I set a new school record in the 60m hurdles with a time of 7.94.

It was an incredible moment for me, and it was a testament to all of the hard work and dedication that I had put in over the past year.

I could have let the accident define me, but instead, I used it as motivation to come back stronger.

I refused to let it be the end of my story, and I was determined to return to the track and show the world what I was capable of.

Looking forward, my goal is to continue competing on a professional level and make it to the Olympics.

 I know it won’t be easy, but I have a strong support system in place, and I’m more determined than ever to achieve my dreams.

When my time on the track comes to an end, I want to become a coach and share my passion for the sport with others.

I want to help young athletes reach their full potential and turn their struggles into triumphs.

After everything I’ve been through, I’ve learned the importance of never giving up on your dreams.

I’ve faced my fair share of challenges and setbacks, but I’ve always had faith that God was laying out the right path for me.

And that path has led me here.

Back on the track, doing what I love.