Jeff Okuda explains the ups and downs of emotional rehabilitation from a hock injury

When Jeff Okuda first learned that he tore his Achilles in… Detroit LionsIn the 2021 season opener, he did what many of us do when dealing with an injury or illness. I searched for it on google.

“Nice basic research, Torn Achilles,” Okuda explained Thursday in his first media session since the injury. “I looked at athletes who have suffered from it in the past.”

He came out to recover. He quickly contacted some professional athletes who had come back from one of the more serious sports injuries. Scroll down to the Instagram DMs of NBA stars John Wall and Boogie Cousins ​​for inspiration and guidance on how to recover.

“They kind of gave me the confidence to know that the hock would be the least of your worries,” Okuda explained. “It’s going to be about getting mentally back and taking care of the rest of your body.”

Okuda explained that the physical rehabilitation was the easiest part. It’s obviously not easy for most people, but professional athletes have to put their bodies to work through physical exertion that many of us never go through. This was just another step in that process.

“Rehabilitation is going to be a tedious process, but something you’re really used to being an athlete, especially playing sports for a long time,” Okuda said.

The mental part wasn’t easy though, and he started grieving for losing his second year in the NFL before finishing his first game. After the match, he got into the car with his aunt Jane, a mother-like figure to him, and broke down in tears. You’ve never seen him cry before.

“The second time I got in the car with my aunt, she just broke down and started crying,” Okuda said. “A lot of emotions kind of flowed into me. You’ve never seen me cry before, but it was a lot like – I had high hopes for that last year. So that day I was really disappointed. I felt like I was having a nightmare honestly, man.”

Another tough day during rehab was when the Lions finally claimed their first win of the season in Week 13, breaking through after their 0-10-1 start. While Okuda was clearly happy with the team, he wanted, more than anything else, to be a part of it.

“I only wish, almost selfishly, that I could just be there and help in some way,” Okuda said. “I know all the work these guys have done and I can only imagine how amazing that moment was because it felt so great to me that I wasn’t even playing.”

Several things helped Okuda overcome the mental hurdle of a devastating injury. First he was watching the unpolished rookie cornerback play Jerry Jacobs. Jacobs clung to Okoda the previous spring and summer to help teach him the way. Okdah was a teacher and a model of hard work and dedication.

“It takes me in a wonderful way,” Jacobs said after training camp. “The first day I met him and the days we’ve been talking since, it was just love. I feel like he’s my brother. He takes me home every day, and we just talk, and we go eat. It’s great to be around Jeff.”

Jacobs was an elusive team. However, after collaborating with Okudah, he not only joined the list of 53 players, but eventually found his way into the starting line-up and played well. Okuda was very proud of Jacobs’ accomplishments and even gave him confidence in his own game.

“There were times when I felt like I was playing through Jerry, you know?” Knot said. “Jerry and I had all these conversations, and I took him under my wing during training camp. Just seeing him grow was great for me because it showed me that the things we talked about can be translated into the game. It gave me so much confidence in myself that when I come back, I can do it.” Because we had these conversations and talked in detail about how we’re going to attack these recipients.”

Okuda also drew inspiration from his mother, whose long battle with lymphoma ended in 2017. Diagnosed when Okuda was just a little girl, he watched not only battle cancer for a decade, but raise him and his sister while doing so.

Okuda said, “I thought, Who better than my mother to look at the ordeal she has gone through in her life?” “I kind of based it on the things I saw from her, and if I could do that, I could do that. If she can show resilience, I can also show the same resilience because I saw that (first) — in terms of how strong someone actually is, especially when Circumstances are more opposite.

Now it looks like he’s about to take the field full time again. During the OTAs, he is in the starting lineup during the mentorship rounds at the start of the workout, and he goes into positional drills with the rest of the corner group. At this point, he’s only kept away from full 11v11 drills, but he knows it’s best for him to back off sometimes even when his instincts are go, go, go.

“Sometimes, I need to protect myself from myself,” Okdah said. “So you just have people you trust around you like, ‘Hey man, you’ve been going really hard, you need to tone it down for the next few days. Believe me, it will not delay your progress.”

But it’s only a matter of time before he’s officially back. it’s not ifbut when-And when does it seem so close?

“I feel good about where he is and where the injury is,” said coach Dan Campbell. “I feel he’s right where he needs to be. I would say on a few things, that’s the least of my worries, it’s Achilles, and that’s a good thing.”

With physical rehab mostly behind him, it’s now on Okudah to prove it on the court, something he struggled for in the junior season and didn’t really have a chance to prove it last year. He won’t be able to prove it until the season starts in September, but until then, he’ll let his hunger take over.

“I feel as hungry as if I haven’t eaten in years,” Okuda said. “I’ve had this hunger inside me since the injury. Really, even before the injury. I’ve had this feeling, man, for about two years, just this hunger. I’m ready to go out there and play my best, honestly.”

I will highly suggest Watch Okudah’s entire briefing session here.