Perseverance personified: Braden Firth has battled through numerous injuries to get back on the football field
Published 6:30 pm Friday, September 23, 2022
Braden Firth is a warrior. The Lafayette Christian senior has been his body on the line for the Cougar football team year in and year out.
His chance to play during his final season at the school nearly was not to be. Firth dislocated his knee in the final game of the 2021 season.
“It was demoralizing,” Firth said. “I had gone through an entire season not getting hurt for the first time. First game of my ninth grade year I broke my arm after having a heck of a game. The next year, during the COVID year, I hurt my knee at the very start of the year. I came in and wanted to play through it, then broke my arm.”
He worked his tail off to get back in a position to play football. Then, on a hot summer practice just a week and some change before the 2022 season was set to kickoff, Firth dislocated the same knee once again in a freak accident at practice.
“In the midst of making it back, I hurt my knee once again at practice,” First said. “That was a big knock. I sat there and questioned why all this would happen to me. I asked ‘what purpose does it serve for me to get hurt over and over again?’ I wanted to know why I couldn’t be like every other guy that walks out on the field and stays healthy.”
Firth was not always sure that he would or could come back to play. The injuries took their toll on his body but even more so on his psyche.
“For about a month and a half span, I didn’t know if I was going to play again,” Firth said. “As soon as it happened, I started wondering can I play or will I play? My parents and baseball coach were telling me not to play and that it’s not smart. I went in to the doctor after I did therapy, and he said that my bad knee is better than my supposed good one.”
Firth returned two weeks ago against Praise Academy on the road and caught a big 50-yard touchdown reception in a losing effort.
“I was extremely nervous,” Firth said.
Last week against Central Christian, he reeled in another touchdown, this time in front of the hometown crowd that never gave up on him.
“It was really fun to get out there and play in front of them,” Firth said. “Toward the end of the game we were up so much that some of the younger kids got in the game and that was really special too.”
Regardless of whether he ever stepped foot on a field as a player again, he wanted to be there to support his teammates. It is what makes Firth such a special leader for a team that has a ton of youth in its ranks.
“Regardless of my situation, I wanted to make the best of it,” Firth said. “I was going to come out even if I was hurt to lead this team. I wanted to show them that no matter how many times I got hurt, I was going to stand there and scream their names and say good job.”
The Cougars are now halfway through their season. Down the stretch, Lafayette Christian will be playing three more home games where fans can get a glimpse of Firth on the football field for one final ride.
“If God didn’t give me the ability to come back and give me the strength to move forward, I wouldn’t be here,” Firth said. “A lot of people would have given up, and I wanted to give up. Frankly, I really did. I didn’t because I was given strength by the Lord to push through.”