“Everybody’s just waiting for this moment now to really see what I got,” James Palmer, Westmoore High School tight end, said. “See if I’m still who I was before.”
Now James Palmer leads Westmoore onto the field for spring practice.
Before the talented tight end earned an offer from OSU and others for physical play, but then everything came to a stop.
Sending his future and his season to the sidelines.
“I went up for a pass in the end zone,” Palmer said. “I remember it was on September 15, and I came down on my heel and ruptured my achilles. That’s not really a thing for a 17-year-old kid maybe for a 40 or 50 year old man. The whole side of the back of my foot was gone. I tried to get up, but I couldn’t really walk because there wasn’t really anything back there.”
James then spent the next few months in rehab.
Sometimes before dawn, or several times a day.
The Palmer’s then decided to document James’ journey gathering around a hours worth of video on their phones before posting it to social media to show his progress.
It became a family goal to get James healthy and on his feet again.
“The next day my parents were like, this is nothing that’s going to hold you back from anything,” James said. “I have four other siblings and they were all like, we’re going to do this together.”
“I think that through that adversarial time it’s made him tough,” Brenda Palmer, James’ mother, said. “Really on the back end of this it’s like that was a good thing that happened. It’s kind of strange to say that, but it’s a good thing that it happened.”
“Everybody’s waiting to see how you recover,” Richard Palmer, James’ father, said. “I can tell you for sure he’s recovered well in those different ways that Brenda’s mentioned, and also athletically. I see a difference in him.”
Once the Palmer’s video grew legs on social media Lorenzo Williams heard from countless colleges about James.
Since jumping into the action again Palmer’s back on track.
“You hope that people are ready because if they’re not they’re going to be in trouble,” Lorenzo Williams, Westmoore High School head coach, said. “He is ready to go, and it’s like he feels like a caged jaguar. He hasn’t been able to hunt. He hasn’t been able to do nothing. You could just see it the first day of spring ball practice. He just came out full boar, attacking. We had to calm him down. He’s loving life right now.”
“I think I’m better than what I was before just based on some of the small things dealing with my body,” James said. “Like I don’t remember stretching as much. Never thought I’d be able to do yoga. Never thought that I would want to do yoga, but I’m doing yoga with everybody just to make sure that my body is ok.”
While some may see his scar as a sign of tough times James sees it as a part of the route to his future.
“This is what got me here,” James said. “There’s nothing missing from me. It’s all positive. It’s all moving forward. That was the only way I was going to go is forward."