After ACL recovery, Maine East grad Alex Corey ready to resume football career

SHARE After ACL recovery, Maine East grad Alex Corey ready to resume football career

According to Maine East football coach Gabe Corey, his son knew right away what was wrong.

As quarterback Alex Corey lay on the ground in Maine East’s 2013 opener against Schurz, Gabe Corey asked his son if it was his ACL.


Did it pop?


Alex Corey had a fully ruptured ACL and a second-degree MCL tear in his left leg. Seemingly, his season was gone.

Not so fast.

Less than two months later, he played in the regular-season finale. He’ll play again in the Illinois High School Shrine Game in Bloomington on Saturday. Then, he’ll play college ball for a rising North Park program.

Didn’t he think his football career was over?

“He had that moment, but it wasn’t long,” Gabe Corey said.

Dr. Stephen Wright of Fort Wayne, Indiana, offered a pathway by recommending that Alex Corey wait 6 to 12 weeks before surgery.

A study published in 2008 by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons stated that having surgery too soon, prior to six weeks after the tear, could result in a stiff knee and a greater chance of lateral tears.

Given a six-week window, Alex Corey viewed it as an opportunity to prepare his knee not only for surgery, but also for the end of the football season. He went to work with a long list of tests required before he would see the field.

“He wasn’t ready to give his senior year up,” Gabe Corey said. “Anybody that ever played a sport can appreciate the fact that your senior year of high school is everything.”

After six weeks, Alex Corey’s MCL was healed. His ACL was put temporarily at bay with a brace. He was cleared to play, but he sure as heck couldn’t run.

On that final Friday night against Maine West, Gabe Corey let his son work out of the shotgun to limit his movement.

“I love the ability to be able to go out of the pocket and just create stuff,” Alex Corey said. “I just wanted to run. I remember times where the whole middle would be wide open and I just had to sit there and look at it.”

Saturday, for the first time in nearly a year, Alex Corey will be able to run free. He will play at safety in the shrine game, perhaps for the last time.

He’ll likely stick with quarterback at North Park.

“I finally get one more last chance at it. I’ll just have to get all my defense out of me,” Alex Corey said. “I love defense and I love hitting people. That’s the thing I’ll miss the most about high school.”

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