(Note: Just in case late games play on past our deadlines, I do an early story to hold the space. We got a running story in just in time on Thursday, so this didn’t make the print edition, but it’s a cool story. Enjoy.)
By Mike Dougherty
Matt Behrens has to be Section 1’s most dedicated teammate.
The senior attackman wasn’t even close to 100 percent when Bronxville took the turf on Thursday, looking to secure a fourth consecutive Section 1title. He underwent two surgical procedures in the offseason — bilateral hip surgery and bilateral groin surgery — to correct a painful condition spurred by a growth spurt two years ago.
And it took months of extensive rehab to get back in the lineup.
The Broncos lost in the state final last spring.
After playing in pain the previous two seasons, Behrens went looking for answers. Doctors found a hip issue that was contributing to the pain, and that problem was corrected in the fall. Walking proved to be a chore for two weeks after that surgery.
“The recovery from that was really painful,” he said.
A specialist later dealt with the persistent groin injuries, re-attaching the muscles to the pubic bone.
“Matt was rehabbing during free periods at school,” Bronxville coach Tim Horgan said. “He was on the turf with a physical therapist during lunch.”
It was a tedious comeback.
“We spent a lot of time and energy to get back,” Behrens said. “By mid-April, I was back on the field and I was able to do warm-ups and line drills.”
Behrens played his first game on April 15, but did not last more than a quarter. He did not feel comfortable, and was forced to reconsider.
“I wasn’t ready,” Behrens said. “I kind of revamped my rehab after that game, and came back again to play Scarsdale two weeks later. … I’m not full speed yet, but I’m definitely better from a pain standpoint. I’ve never felt this good.”
He somehow finished with six goals and four assists in that win over the Raiders.
“If he waited until he was 100 percent, Matt would’ve missed the entire season,” Horgan said. “Even now, with time and room he’s as good as any shooter that I’ve ever seen. Matt can hit a near-side corner where there’s maybe three inches to work with. It’s crazy.”