Washburn Rural two-sport standout Jack Hamilton puts scary injury behind him, looks forward to big senior year

Washburn Rural linebacker Jack Hamilton. (Andy Burns/The Capital-Journal)

A serious injury his sophomore season could have ended Jack Hamilton’s varsity football career at Washburn Rural before it ever really got started.

 

But after a breakthrough season last year as a junior, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound inside linebacker can’t imagine not being out on the field for the Junior Blues.

“In the home opener (in 2015), on the kickoff to start the second half, I got rolled up on in the pile and snapped my femur right above my (right) knee,” said Hamilton, also a basketball standout for Rural. “It was pretty painful to say the least and I had a lot of rehab, a lot of physical therapy and it was just not really a fun experience.”

In fact, Hamilton gave serious consideration to walking away from football before Washburn Rural coach Steve Buhler was able to change his mind.

“I wasn’t too keen on playing football the next year,” Hamilton said. “Somehow Buhler figured that out without me telling him, and he came and talked to me about how great of a game football is and got me convinced to play again my junior season.

“After my junior season, I can’t figure out any reason why I would want to ever quit.”

Hamilton played a key role for Rural last fall, earning All-City and All-Centennial League honorable mention, as the Junior Blues posted a 7-4 record, the school’s most wins since 1996, and advanced to the third round of the Class 6A playoffs.

Hamilton then followed that up with a big season in basketball, earning city newcomer of the year honors, as the Junior Blues posted a 15-7 record.

Hamilton’s broken leg still sends him occasional reminders that he needs to take care of it, but he doesn’t let the injury affect the way he plays.

“There’s some hardware in there right now that if I either do too much on it or do too little and then start doing too much on it again, it will start to bother me a little bit,” he said. “But it’s nothing that will keep me out of practice or a game.”

And after the Junior Blues’ success last fall, Hamilton is stoked to get the 2017 season started. Washburn Rural will open the year at home on Sept. 1 against Highland Park.

“We finally figured out how to win some of those close games (last season),” Hamilton said. “I know in the past we had lost a lot of one- or two-possession games that we could have had, but that showed us kind of how to break through and make a playoff run.

“Especially in the Free State game (a 17-14 loss in the 6A quarterfinals), where we had a very good chance of winning that game, we saw how deep of a run we can make in the playoffs and that we have a very real chance of winning state. So when we see how far we can make it and how much we improved (last) year, we definitely feel like we can break through and go even farther than we did last season.”

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