Any injury can be tragic, but for one UGF Argo Volleyball player, she nearly lost the remainder of her collegiate career after a routine motion resulted in excruciating pain. The latest Champions of Character segment profiles the return of Devon Bogart.
"We started off, and I played the first 10 points, totally weird outer-body experience...felt totally not myself"
It was senior night for the UGF Argos volleyball team. But for freshman Devon Bogart….something felt off
"I don't know if I was just tired or it had just worn on me that we had done a full hour warm up, and had to sit for an hour, and then get up and play"
Less than ten minutes into a crucial conference match up with Westminster, it had already been a strange night. A broken light had delayed the game 90 minutes. But the night was about to take a painful turn.
"I jumped up to block, and was drifting, and came down with all my weight on my right leg, and it just snapped"
Bogart went up for a routine block, came down, and snapped her right fibula in half.
"Everything kind of went white, and I pulled my opposite leg to my chest and just thought, holy cow....just unbearable pain.
"The first thing I thought when she went down was that she sprained her ankle, but she'll be back in a couple weeks...I was the first one there by her side and said it's ok, Devon you're gonna be ok."
Bogart's season was over. It came as a huge blow to Senior setter and friend Kila Adams.
"I expected to be playing with her the rest of the season and go to nationals, and that killed me. After the game, we went to the hospital, and she was booked for surgery the next day, and it hit me that she wasn't going to be playing with us anymore."
And it came as a blow to the Argos. The team came into senior night riding a 4-game win streak. Though they would win that night in miraculous fashion, and a week later against a punchless Dickinson State team, the Argos weren't the same team without Bogart, who had made a huge impact her freshman year. The team would lose their final regular season game, and would bow out in the first round of the Conference tournament.
"We had such a great flow on the court going, and the girls were playing so well together, you know even missing one piece like Devon, who played significant minutes, threw everything off"
"It was extremely tough, I look up to her and I was a senior and she was a freshman, and she was someone I looked for constantly. You know, when you're setting, I will literally choose as I'm making the set...so I'll hear Kelsey or I'll here Devon 'Kila, here here, one-one'"
As for Bogart, though her body was broken, her will was not. Not for a moment did she consider quitting volleyball.
"Never. It never even crossed my mind. As soon as I was up on crutches, I was thinking of my steps to get back on the court. It was never, 'Can I be who I was...it was I will be who I was and better than that'"
Healing and rehabbing her leg had its hard moments for Bogart, but she was strengthened by her two best friends, Adams, and fellow teammate Kelsey Van Uden.
"Teammates carrying me across parking lots because they were too icy.
"Kelsey and I, one of us on each arm...she almost fell one time on the ice with her crutches, and we were right there and caught her"
"They were just my backbone, I think without them I would have doubted myself and wouldn't have gotten through it was well as I did"
Largely thanks to her supporting cast, and steely determination, Bogart made a full recovery. When fall camp arrived, she was back. But beyond simply returning to action, Bogart's positive attitude and grit had earned her the respect and admiration of her team…and they showed it by naming her a one of their captains.
"She came into this year so determined, so focused. She filled in that captain role, from losing our two seniors from the year before and she's meant everything"
"I foresaw her being captain last year when I left...just the way she handled her accident, I knew she was gonna be captain when I left"
"She's someone that's constantly encouraging her teammates, she puts in a lot of extra effort, kind like first to get here last to leave, and it's something that she took upon herself and earned.