Florida State quarterback McKenzie Milton has gone through the unthinkable and more in his years as a college athlete. In 2018, Milton played what he thought might be the last game of his career as his legs suffered an injury that likely required amputation.
However, the 23-year-old college athlete happily strolled onto the football field to get back in the game.
McKenzie Milton’s journey back to the football field.
In November 2018, the young athlete was the victim of artery and nerve damage after he dislocated his knee and tore multiple ligaments in a game. Doctors told him that realistically the chances of him playing again were slim to none, as over 50% of people who suffer an injury of this severity have to have their leg amputated. However, Milton insisted he would play again.
“I said, ‘Even if you miraculously get back and do what no one has ever done before, you’ll have to ask yourself, do you want to?’ What was amazing is there was never a hint of hesitation. He said, ‘Doc, I know I’m playing football again. I just know it,'” Dr. Bruce Levy, an orthopedic surgeon recalled what Milton had said when they first met, according to ESPN.
Amazingly, Levy was on the sidelines and watched the football player march onto the field in 2021 with determination. “It was emotional, surreal. I keep thinking, ‘Did this actually happen?'” Levy shared after witnessing what no other athlete had done before.
Levy told Sentinel his process for treating Milton and how he had never seen another case like it in his career. “I had gone through all of the college and NFL databases on prior players that had dislocated their knee,” he shared. “And there’s one or two that were able to get back to playing, but none with this specific ligament, vascular, and nerve injury.”
“I said, ‘Look, my immediate goal is to get through the surgery tomorrow, and you still have your leg because if we injure the artery again, there’s the chance that you’ll still end up with an amputation. So Goal No. 1 is to safely do the operation so that you keep your leg. Goal No. 2 is to give you a limb that you can walk with that’s stable and doesn’t have pain. Anything above that is unknown and in God’s hands,” Levy said, remembering what he had told the athlete.
Despite all of this, Milton was able to complete 48 yards in a game against Notre Dame, which ended up forcing them into overtime. He created a 10-point deficit at the time, but Notre Dame still swooped in for the win. Although Florida State experienced a loss, Milton experienced an indescribable win. Just to be able to play again for this athlete is indescribable.
Mark Milton commented on his son’s perseverance and said, “He never had any doubt, and that was the most important thing. We never stopped encouraging him to realize whatever dreams he has. We told him to go for it.”
And, go for it he did. Congratulations, McKenzie Milton!
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