Arlington's McPherson overcomes injury to excel

Arlington senior Blake McPherson competes in the javelin toss at the state track meet on May 24-26. McPherson took second place in the javelin. - File Photo
Arlington senior Blake McPherson competes in the javelin toss at the state track meet on May 24-26. McPherson took second place in the javelin.
— image credit: File Photo

ARLINGTON — During his junior year at Arlington High School, Blake McPherson was a star football player and multi-sport athlete. So when his knee began to give him trouble during summer conditioning, he ignored it.

“During the summer we were doing conditioning drills and my knee started to hurt,” said McPherson, a quarterback for the Eagles. “I was basically in tears, but I kept playing through it.”

Once the football season began, McPherson’s condition worsened.

“I didn’t want to go to the doctor, I thought it was a torn meniscus but I wanted to keep playing,” he said. “After we won the Stilly Cup, I figured we would probably be league champs, so that’s when I finally went to the doctor.”

McPherson was seen by Dr. Jeff Cartwright, orthopedic surgeon in Arlington, who performed an MRI. “Cartwright came in the room and asked me where it hurt and I showed him,” said McPherson. “He said, ‘Either you’re lying or you’re the toughest kid I know.’”

As it turns out, McPherson had torn his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) an injury that would normally stop an athlete’s career instantly. In addition to the ACL, McPherson’s medial collateral ligament (MCL) and lateral collateral ligament (LCL) were also torn and he had a damaged meniscus as well.

The injury began with a partial ACL tear during summer training, and the rest of the knee became damaged during regular season play.

“I was very surprised,” said Cartwright. “You watch him play and think, ‘It can’t be that bad.’”

McPherson underwent surgery in October of 2010, and feared that the injury would negatively affect his athletic career.

But McPherson was still determined to succeed. He attended physical therapy with Todd Aalbu at Pro Action three mornings a week before school and listened to all of his doctors’ instructions.

“After a while, I was faster, stronger. My knee was better than before,” said McPherson.

“He profited from good surgery, good therapy and amazing determination,” said Cartwright. “There’s a lot of will power there.”

McPherson led the Eagles in his senior year of football and joined the wrestling team once again.

“I was going 100 percent. I went undefeated and won the district championship and the regional championship and lost 6-5 in the state championship.”

Brad McPherson, Blake’s older brother, was astonished and proud of what his brother could accomplish with following the injury.

“When most people have ACL surgery, their sports career is over. But Blake came back stronger, breaking five school records,” said Brad McPherson.

Blake McPherson took second place in javelin in the state track meet this year as well. On June 2, McPherson won the Washington State Decathlon — in which the 40 best athletes in the state compete in 10 events — by 500 points.

“He smoked everybody,” said Brad McPherson.

His successful senior season was made even more exciting for Blake McPherson when the United States Military Academy at West Point recruited him to play quarterback.

“They are also recruiting me to throw javelin and decathlon now too,” said McPherson, who wanted to thank those who had a hand in getting back on his feet following surgery.

“Cartwright’s helped me the whole entire way,” said McPherson. “Him and Todd are by far enough to bring me back.”


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