When University of Alabama star Tua Tagovailoa attended several college football awards shows last month, Associate Athletic Director for Sports Medicine Jeff Allen tagged along to ensure the quarterback could continue rehabbing an injured ankle.
Tua Tagovailoa, the star quarterback for the University of Alabama football team, didn’t let ankle surgery keep him from attending several highly publicized college football awards shows in early December. But it did require adding an unexpected travel companion to his entourage—Associate Athletic Director for Sports Medicine, Jeff Allen, MEd, LAT, ATC.
Allen brought all the necessary equipment to allow the young superstar to stay on track with his rehab ahead of the College Football Playoffs.
“I think Tua is right on schedule,” Alabama Head Football Coach Nick Saban said in a news conference on Dec. 6, according to ESPN. “The procedure they did usually takes two weeks for a guy to be able to have any explosive movement, and then they go from there. So, we’ll see how he progresses from there. But we’re pleased with the progress that he’s made to this point.”
Even with all of the activities of Heisman Trophy weekend, Tagovailoa and Allen found opportunities to rehab.
“Yeah, so if I’m not talking to media,” Tagovailoa told AL.com, “If I’m not with the Heisman committee… Any chance that I get to go back to my room, Jeff is with me all the time. It’s something I don’t like but I’m very appreciative of it. If it’s going to get me a lot better quicker, then I’m more than open to it.”
One piece of rehab equipment that attracted a lot of attention throughout the weekend was the four-wheel drive scooter that guided Tagovailoa’s injured ankle from one obligation to the next. It’s decorated with two Alabama script-A stickers, and even boasts a drink holder. But perhaps most impressively, it also turns into a chair. Simply by sliding a key out of its resting place, Tagovailoa could lean back and chat with Allen between interviews and photo ops.
Though he was trying to enjoy a weekend that he had dreamed about almost his whole life, Tagovailoa admitted that it was difficult to take it all in since his primary focus was on his recovery.
“Honestly, I haven’t had time to really think too much of ‘Wow, this is really happening’ or to soak everything in because I’ve been getting treatment every time I go back to my room,” Tagovailoa told AL.com. “Guys coming in and checking to see if I’m good or whatnot. I’m just looking at trying to get better right now.”
Several times throughout the weekend Tagovailoa thanked Alabama for sending Allen along for the award-show ride. He also expressed his own appreciation for Allen, who was named Division I Athletic Trainer of the Year by his peers earlier this year at the NATA convention.
“New best friend right here,” Tagovailoa said of his dedicated athletic trainer.
Interested in more information on ankle rehabilitation? Don’t miss our article, “4 Ankle-Related Exercises to Prevent Injury and Build Strength.”
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