Ellendale's Scott Wagner makes miraculous comeback to the court
The 6 foot-8 inch all-state center rolled his car in May.
One of the best high school basketball players in the state almost had everything stripped away from him. Ellendale High School’s senior big man Scott Wagner got into a car crash that left him with potentially career-ending injuries.
Wagner suffered a broken left wrist and thumb, two fractured vertebrae and a broken right clavicle when he was involved in a single-vehicle accident on his way to volunteer at an Ellendale middle school track meet.
The injuries and how they would affect his career were on his mind when Wagner woke up in the hospital.
“That was one of the first things I thought when I first remember waking up in the hospital and after they told me my injuries that was one of the first things I thought,” Wagner said. “Was I going to be able to play again?”
The recovery process taught Wagner to be patient and not rush it, potentially further delaying his return to full force.
“When I first was getting back into it, I was doing too much in such a short period of time. I had to learn to slowly get back into it,” Wagner said. “I just wanted to get back out there and play but what my mom once told me was, ‘Why work yourself to get cleared out of the neck brace and then all of a sudden you hurt yourself again and then you have to spend more time not playing basketball.’ So, I had to pace myself.”
The 6-foot-8 inch big man is coming into this season fully healthy, having been cleared by doctors in the summer. Last season for the Cardinals, Wagner averaged 19 points, 12 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks per game.
“He’s huge. When he’s on the floor, he’s kind of unstoppable down low. He’s a great leader for us," Cardinals head coach Brian Vance said. "Even off the floor, he gets guys in the weight room or tries to. When he wasn’t able to do anything, he still came to our workouts and our acceleration programs and things like that. He’s just a good kid to be around and the kids look up to him.”
Wagner admitted it was hard to watch his teammates practice together last summer and not have the ability to join them.
“Especially watching them play, I just wanted to be out there to show them in person how to do it. I just wanted to play with them so badly because I love my team, they are some of the most fun guys I know,” Wagner said. “I am friends with all of them and I just love playing with them, not being able to, it really sucked but I just knew I need to be there for them because they would do the same thing for me.”
Getting back into the routine of going to school and sitting in classes was a challenge for Wagner as well.
“Especially when I first got back, I was only there for half a day because my mom just wanted me to work myself back into school again,” Wagner said. “I definitely enjoyed being back at school because I hated just sitting around doing nothing when I was at my house. So, being there, being with my friends, that made me feel better about myself.”