IOWA CITY, Iowa — Shortly upon waking from surgery to fix a ruptured tendon Levi Duwa heard the doctor’s diagnosis. His injury wasn’t as bad as initially feared. Thanks to the anesthetic still running through it body it didn’t mean much to him at the time.
It took until the drugs wore off and he went over everything with his parents that it sunk in. His nightmare included a silver lining. Instead of a six month recovery it potentially be could be cut in half.
“This is about as good of news as I could get considering the situation,” said Duwa, a 2017 Iowa defensive end commit.
He suffered the injury during a Mid-Prairie High School (Iowa) game on Sept 30. A Williamsburg High School offensive lineman fell on Duwa’s left leg. Duwa knew something wasn’t right, but only went to the sideline for a second. He heard a snap when trying to block on offense.
“That was the end of that game for me,” Duwa said.
He feared it was the end of his high career. If the tendon was completely torn doctors would need to insert screws to help with the healing. It would increase his rehab time.
Doctors wouldn’t know the severity of the injury until the operation. It turned out the surgeon only needed to manipulate the tendon back into place.
“It’s great that I didn’t need screws,” Duwa said.
There is no set timetable for his return. He is in a walking boot and said his doctor is taking a wait and see approach for now as the injury heals.
The injury initially hit Duwa hard. The happy-go-lucky player turned quiet. Mid-Prairie coach Pete Cavanagh thought Duwa started to come out of it after the surgery.
“He is upbeat,” Cavanagh said. “He has been at practice every day with us and he can lift with his upper body and things. He has been pretty active and on the sidelines and still a good teammate.”
Duwa thought his high school career was over. No track. No wrestling. No more opportunities to compete with the buddies he grew up with.
His football season is done. There’s no way around that, but doctors are saying there’s a chance he could return for wrestling. Track looks like it could be doable.
If he is to represent Mid-Prairie again, Duwa must balance a chance to go out on his own terms in high school with being ready for his college future.
“We are trying to be cautious for next year I think, going to Iowa and all,” Duwa said. “Just want to make sure it’s healed up and good. I don’t want to risk hurting it again for next year. That is kind of the main thing I think, making sure it gets healed up the way it needs to be.”
Cavanagh saw a different Duwa before his injury this season. Duwa, a three-star 247Sports composite prospect, all over the defense, not just on the line. He made 29.5 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks in six games.
“He was bigger and more versatile,” Cavanagh said.
Duwa should have more time to get back to being his old self before he heads to Iowa in the summer.
He didn’t know what to think coming out of surgery, but he does know. He’s lucky to be where he is with his ruptured tendon.
“It could be a lot worse for sure,” Duwa said. “I am pretty fortunate it turned out the way it was.”