JC’s Flaten talks about ACL injuryFARGO — Spencer Flaten had shot a layup hundreds of times before, but this one was different.
By: Eric Peterson, Forum Communications, The Jamestown Sun
FARGO — Spencer Flaten had shot a layup hundreds of times before, but this one was different.
“As I went up, I felt something pop in my knee,” said Flaten, who attended West Fargo High School. “It felt a lot different than just a twist in my knee. It felt like it was more serious than that.”
Minutes later, Flaten was on his cell phone talking with his dad.
“He told me ‘My knee just exploded.’ ” Neil Flaten recalled.
That was two springs ago. Spencer was barely into his freshman baseball season at Jamestown College. The Jimmies had just returned from a trip to Omaha, Neb., and had the day off to stretch and do some cardio.
Flaten, who played high school basketball for West Fargo, had decided to shoot some hoops with a few of his teammates.
“I haven’t done a layup since then I can say that,” Flaten said. “I’m sure I’ll end up doing it again, but not until my baseball career is over. That’s a sure thing.”
Flaten had a feeling it wasn’t a good thing the way his knee reacted.
When Flaten went up for that layup, he said it “felt like two things grinding together and it just let loose. I didn’t really have any pain and after I did it, my knee didn’t swell up.”
Even though there was little pain, Flaten could tell something wasn’t right. He felt “no support” in his leg at all, although he was able to walk. Flaten went in for an MRI on his knee the next day.
“A lot of emotions run, thinking like I might not ever play a game,” Flaten said. “I cried a lot.”
That split-second injury ended his freshman season at Jamestown College. He was one of two freshmen to make the varsity team that spring. It also spoiled Flaten’s plans to return to West Fargo and play for the American Legion baseball team that next summer.
Flaten was expected to be one of the leaders on a talented Legion team. Neil could see how the injury tormented his son.
“Everything we thought he was going to be doing came to an end and mentally, that’s tough,” Neil said.
“We drove by the West Fargo baseball field and you could tell it was just eating him apart that he figured he would never play there again.”
Peterson writes for
The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead