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November 14, 2013

HERTZEL COLUMN: Snow overcomes injuries to earn playing time

MORGANTOWN — As you may have notice this week, we have reached the time of year for Snow … Jewone Snow.

 With yet another injury on the defensive side of the ball, an ACL taking linebacker Jared Barber out for the remainder of the season after having led West Virginia University in tackles in consecutive games, Snow will finally get his chance, joining Tyler Anderson in splitting playing time.

Each has earned the shot, Anderson through his special teams play and Snow through as much perseverance as any player has displayed on this West Virginia team.

Snow has battled through a pair of herniated discs and a labrum tear in each shoulder to finally get to the point where he can become a big-time contributor.

And this isn’t something that came upon recently. The pain goes all the way back to high school at Canton (Ohio) McKinley in the shadow of the National Football League Hall of Fame, and considering he’s a redshirt junior that a lot of ibuprofen and such.

“Not playing was very hard. I never really missed any football time before I got to college and had to deal with the shoulder and back injuries,” he said.

It was so hard, in fact, that he considered giving football up.

“I actually thought about that. There was a point in time where I thought my body would give out. I just tried to keep the faith. I prayed about it, and now I have the opportunity to prove I can play,” he said.

It hardly matters because he’s proved just what kind of person he is by what he went through.

The injuries started in high school.

“I was told there was a strain,” he recalled. “Then, I hurt them here, but I didn’t get an MRI until the Orange Bowl camp of my freshman season. That said both of them were torn. I just played in the bowl camp, but I didn’t play in the bowl game.”

Following what was one of the greatest victories in WVU history, beating Clemson, 70-33, in the Orange Bowl, Snow underwent surgery on one of the two shoulders.

“They said if I got surgery on two it would have been a tough transition. I probably would have missed camp, so I got surgery on the left one,” he recalled.

He began working himself back into shape, doing some weights,

“Then I was doing a light weight, the last rep on the set,” he recalled. “I came up and as soon as I reached the top, my lower body and upper body went in two different directions.”

That’s when the discs were herniated.

That is not a fun injury, but he managed to avoid surgery and come back and play.

“I played last year in the Baylor game, the Texas game and the Texas Tech game,” he said.

And, of course, he hurt the right shoulder worse than then the left.

“I had to get surgery right there,” he said.

That might have a carried a message with it, but Snow didn’t get it.

He underwent surgery again, went through rehab again, sat out early in the season but kept after it, the goal being to become the football player he knew he could be.

“He was banged up coming off surgery, obviously, early in the year. But he is a guy that, special teams wise, has started to contribute the last two or three games. His role will take on a whole new meaning this week,” defensive coordinator Keith Patterson said.

Does Snow ever think what might have been if the shoulders and the discs had remained healthy?

“All the time,” he answered, without hesitation. “All the time.”

His voice trailed off into silence.

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.

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