Paying the Price

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Jason Price is eager to return to the field after multiple knee injuries

Ed Kapp
Sports Writer

When Jason Price – slotback for the University of Regina Rams – decided that he wanted to play football at Sheldon-Williams Collegiate, his parents were admittedly not very pleased with their son’s decision.

“My dad was livid – he didn’t want me to sign up,” recounted Price, 23, with a laugh. “He said that I would get a knee injury and it would end my sports career.”

Following a pair of very productive seasons on the field in high school, Price ultimately agreed to take his talents to the U of R to play football.

During his third campaign with the Rams, Price realized why his father – who has long been passionate about football – wasn’t too interested in seeing his children play the game.

“We were playing against Calgary, we were going towards the endzone at Taylor Field,” explained Price, who has snagged 21 receptions over the course of his four seasons with the Rams. “I was on the punt team, we were running down and my cleat didn’t release, so I dislocated my knee and tore my ACL. That was the most pain that I’ve ever been in in my life. I’m pretty sure everyone in the game could hear exactly how much pain I was in [laughs], because I was screaming pretty loud.”

Despite his injury – and perhaps the advice of his parents – after spending six months rehabilitating his leg he returned to the field for the following CIS campaign.

As it turned out, however, Price’s long-awaited return to action was short-lived.

“The season was going great until we hit the Alberta game,” Price recounted. “We were doing a run play for Adrian Charles and a would-be tackler dove out; he missed [Charles] but he rolled up into the back of my legs while I was blocking one of their [defensive backs] and my knee came out … I didn’t blow it out there – my brace kind of saved it – but I dislocated my kneecap, I guess.”

In a move that he admittedly now regrets, Price – with the help of a brace and a few feet of tape – returned to the field within a matter of weeks against Manitoba.

“We had already been hurting at receiver … so someone had to dress,” Price explained. “I said ‘OK,’ because I was feeling alright.

“We were on our own, probably, 35-yard-line. It was a run play, I was going forward and made it about three or four steps across the line of scrimmage and, the next thing you know, I planted straight forward, I felt a pop in my knee … I face-planted straight to the ground.”

When Price returned to the sideline, he was informed by a team physician that he had re-torn his knee and would be faced with another surgery and an extended period of rehabilitation.

Although Price claimed that there was a time when he believed that he would never play football again, he insisted he is currently sitting at 95 per cent and preparing himself for his fifth campaign with the Rams.

Naturally, Price – and certainly his parents – are hoping that he can finish his fifth season with the Rams without suffering another injury. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound slotback, however, has loftier ambitions as an athlete at the U of R.

“Personally – I know we have a lot of great receivers – but I want to be known as that receiver that’s hard to cover,” Price explained. “We have a lot of receivers on our team that are amazing, but I just want to be seen as that guy that can wear you down, that will make a move, but, at the same time, go through you. I want [defensive backs] to be scared to try to tackle me or even cover me and get over 100 yards a game … I want to contribute to the team and help win a [Vanier Cup] – that’s the ultimate goal for anyone on the team.”

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