Day pushes through

Senior Nick Day has faced plenty of adversity in his years of high school football but he hasn’t let that get the best of him.
Day pushes through

Senior Nick Day’s high school football career has not been an easy journey. Playing varsity sports as an underclassman is difficult, especially when an injury shortens your freshman year.

In the second to last game of his freshman season, Day broke his fibula, the small bone between the knee and ankle. After this injury, he was advised to sit out of sports for a minimum of six weeks to heal and required surgery to repair the damage in his ankle and to help stabilize the bones. Due to COVID-19, his freshman and sophomore seasons were back-to-back, and he was forced to make a rapid recovery.

Senior Nick Day receiving a handoff from senior quarterback and long-time friend James Sheehan. (Hannah Barczak)

“It took me six weeks to recover from breaking my leg,” Day said. “I was fully [back] in [sports] after the sixth week because the first day I got back [to school] we started football so I didn’t really have a choice.”

Coming back from such a devastating injury can be tough for most players, but Day was determined to lock in his position on the team, which heavily relies on leg and ankle strength. Due to jumping back into the sport, several injuries followed his original break. He continues to push through these obstacles in order to continue playing the sport he loves. More recently, Day sprained his ankle and got tendentious in the same spot due to the metal in his leg.

At the beginning of the 2023 season, head varsity football coach Brian Glashagel noticed Day’s injury affected his play throughout practice. Typically, he is a fast and agile athlete, but at practices, it was showing that he was not performing at his best capability. This concerned the coaches and players, especially since the start of the season was approaching quickly.

Pullquote Photo

Whenever he’s around, the morale is always higher.

— James Sheehan, senior captain and quarterback

For the first game of the season, the team was unsure whether he would be able to play. It was a game day decision for Day to take a chance and play or be safe. He chose to play.

The full-back position is one of the three running backs that play on offense. Day’s position, in particular, requires a lot of running and force, which puts strain on the ankle and requires mobility of the legs. The extensive injuries Day has suffered make playing this position difficult.

“Fullback is the [player] that carries the ball the most. He’s got to get inside and get the tough yards,” Glashagel said.

Day chose not to allow his injury to affect his play; due to the fact that he was not able to run as fast as he normally would, he applied his skills in different ways that only ample players would be able to realize and adjust to on the spot.

“On Friday [at the Schaumburg game], he was not as nimble and quick,” Glashagel said. “So he [resorted] to what else he could do and just ran people over. He has that ability to switch the type of runner he is.”

After the first game, it was questionable if Day would continue to feel able with all the strain he had put on his ankle; however, he went to practice feeling better. Day said that he felt better after the game than he did going into it, and ever since then, he has been playing almost normally. He has recently been building back the strength he once lost.

Senior captain quarterback James Sheehan has played football with Day for 10 years. Over the years, the two have become very close on and off the field. With Sheehan being the quarterback and Day being a running back, they heavily rely on each other on the field.

Football team positions themselves on the field, ready to face off against cross town rivals Lakes High School in a thrilling showdown of skill and determination. (Laila Salata)

“[Nick’s] a beast, everytime we give him the ball I feel like he hits someone pretty hard,” Sheehan said. “[When] he gets the ball I think we have a chance to make a good play.”

Not only is Day a key piece to the physical aspect of the game, but he is also extremely good at keeping a loose atmosphere during games and practices. He has a certain sense of humor, which the whole team benefits from. Losing him to another injury would take a toll on the team’s morale.

“Nick brings a sense of funniness to the team. Whenever he’s around, the morale is always higher,” Sheehan said.

Although Day is known throughout the team for having a light-hearted spirit, he does not show that on the field. Not only is he a strong player, but he is remarkably humble, which shows during games.

“[Nick] lets his actions speak for his words [on the field],” Glashagel said. “Just the way he plays when he gets the ball at full speed.”

With all the obstacles that Day has thrown throughout his high school career, it would be easy for him to give up on the sport or not put full effort into it. He has shown by his quality of play and his positive attitude that he truly deserves all he has earned starting on the team and stands out from other players.

“We’ve had short, smaller compact guys that can play football [such as Nick],” Glashagel said. “I think that one of the surprising things when you watch [Nick] play is that he plays faster and smaller than he is.”

Day continues to surprise his opponents and has made a name for himself. He has become a crucial player on the Antioch Community High School football team due to his energy and level of play. Day has overcome his injuries by continuing to persevere through everything that life throws at him.

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About the Contributors
Grace Green
Grace Green, Tom Tom Staff
Grace Green is a senior and this is her second year on staff. Green plays on the varsity softball team. She loves coffee, and in her free time, she enjoys hanging out with friends and family.
Laila Salata
Laila Salata, Tom Tom Staff
Laila Salata is a senior and this is her second year on staff. Salata plays field hockey and does cheerleading for ACHS. In her free time, Salata enjoys taking pictures, spending too much money on Starbucks, and being with friends and family. Bonus fact, she is also Miss Antioch 2023.  
Hannah Barczak
Hannah Barczak, Visual Director
Hannah Barczak is a senior this is her fourth year on staff as well as her second year as the Visual Director on the Executive Board of the Tom Tom.  Along with her interest in media, this will be her fourth year as an ACHS cheerleader. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends, taking pictures, and traveling during her free time. Barczak is excited to make the most of her senior year.

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