Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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September 6, 2013

Wildkats lose Persons to season-ending injury

Two-sport star has torn ACL in knee.

Kokomo High School’s football and boys basketball programs took a major hit Thursday. Wildkat senior Tayler Persons underwent an MRI on his injured left knee and it showed a torn ACL. He will need surgery.

Persons is a two-way standout in football and one of the state’s best players in basketball. He is a Northern Kentucky basketball recruit.

Persons suffered the injury on the gridiron against Fort Wayne Wayne last week.

“I’m just sick,” Kokomo football coach Brett Colby said. “When his dad came down to my room [Thursday] and told me, I had tears in my eyes. It’s just a sad feeling for Tayler and everyone feels that way. Football-wise, I pretty much knew last week he was probably done even if it was his MCL. But [football] is secondary compared to what he’s going to have to go through to get himself right and get himself ready to go to the next level [in basketball].”

Persons noted he also has a slight tear in his MCL. Still, he offered a positive attitude when discussing the injury and the road ahead.

“I feel like I can come back even stronger than I was before,” he said. “I know my family and friends are behind me. I’m going to work at this rehab as hard as I ever trained for basketball or anything. I’m going to work as hard as I can so I can come back and be ready to play as soon as possible.”

Persons’ football season is over, and his basketball season is in jeopardy.

“They say [recovery] depends on my body. It could be six to nine months,” he said. “But I’m just going to come back whenever I feel like my body is 100 percent. I don’t want to take any chances on re-injuring it or anything.

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