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Hunter Jr. breaks femur at U.S. Army All-American Bowl

Jan 2, 2013, 12:03 PM EST

torii-hunter-jr

Notre Dame recruit Torii Hunter Jr. suffered a serious injury during practice at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, putting a damper on a week that looked to be very kind to the Irish. Hunter, a sought after wide receiver who will play both football and baseball at Notre Dame, broke his left femur during non-contact drills. He was taken off the field on a cart as news swirled on Twitter that he suffered what was originally rumored to be either a knee or quad injury.

Hunter’s father, MLBer Torii Hunter, confirmed the femur injury to ESPN’s Damon Sayles:

“It’s a fracture, and it will require surgery,” Hunter said of his son. “He’s a tough boy. He’s distraught right now, he’s never had an injury before. I told him he’ll bounce back. I know he will.

“He’s seen me fight through injuries, so he knows it can happen. You just have to work hard.”

Hunter caught a flight to San Antonio after getting the news that his son was carted off the field following 1-on-1 drills. Hunter Jr. was running a routine route when he went down in pain following the release.

The No. 5 receiver and No. 47 prospect in the ESPN 150, Hunter Jr. committed to Notre Dame in September, choosing the Fighting Irish over Nebraska and Arizona State. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound receiver also is a standout center fielder and is a potential MLB draft pick.

“I think what he’s thinking is he’s going to miss baseball,” Hunter said.

How long Hunter’s rehabilitation will take is up for discussion. In the above quoted article, Hunter Sr. estimates that the injury will take six to eight months to rehab, making Hunter Jr.’s availability questionable heading into June, when he’ll enroll in summer school with the rest of the ’13 recruiting class. Yet Hunter Jr. said on Twitter that he’ll be good in 12 weeks, though he did think he’ll likely miss baseball season.

(For a good idea of what the rehabilitation process looks like for a broken injury, Edmonton Oilers prospect Taylor Fedun’s recovery was nicely chronicled. He’s currently playing for the Oklahoma City Barons after sitting out last season)

With a father that’s spent the past 15 years in the big leagues, Torii Jr. will not be short on medical help, and the elder Hunter has already started reaching out to doctors that will lead his son throughout his rehabilitation process.

The injury won’t do anything to Hunter Jr.’s commitment to the Irish. While Brian Kelly or the Irish coaches aren’t allowed to comment on any particular recruit until after Signing Day, a source inside the program confirmed that everything will stay the same with Hunter’s scholarship.

It’s a tough break for Hunter, who was likely to use this baseball season as a platform for MLB scouts, who project Hunter as a draftable prospect. It’s also a knock against the All-Star game circuit that’s taken over the recruiting ranks, a major injury to a player a month away from signing his letter-of-intent. In Hunter’s case, the injury won’t hurt his opportunity to cash in his college scholarship. But at a different school and for a different prospect, an injury like this could be devastating.

  1. kiopta1 - Jan 2, 2013 at 12:10 PM

    Get well young man. As hard as this is for you It will make that first reception even sweeter for you.

  2. nudeman - Jan 2, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    These all star games are completely selfish, thinly disguised promo events for the sponsors to make money. Can someone please tell me what a kid like Torri Hunter who’s already rated 4 stars, already committed to a great university has left to prove? Get a 5th star? WTF good is that?

    I understand that a kid wants the recognition of playing in an all star game, especially a nationally televised one. I played in baseball all star games and it ALWAYS felt 100% tremendous to be selected and participate. Beyond that … there is no value here.

    Last point: I’ll bet UnderArmour (sp?) and other sponsors make these kids sign all sorts of legal release forms making sure they have no culpability in the event of an injury. Shameless.

    This isn’t hindsight on my part, btw. I wrote almost the exact same thing on another board 5-6 days ago, saying all these games are is a great opportunity to get some kids needlessly hurt. This was well before Hunter’s injury.

    Coaches should start taking a stand: If you sign with us, you’re not playing in any of those games. That won’t happen of course, but … these damn games need to go away.

    • bernhtp - Jan 2, 2013 at 1:02 PM

      Simple: kids want to compete against the best. They want to develop and be recognized for their achievement.

      • nudeman - Jan 2, 2013 at 1:18 PM

        Understand that completely. But it isn’t worth it. They’ll be competing against the best in another 9 months anyway.

        Frankly, as an ND fan I hold my breath about guys like Elmer, Bryant, McGlinchey, Jaylon, et al playing in these games. Playing in real games is a known risk. Can’t do anything about that. The All Star games are stupid exploitative

    • papadec - Jan 2, 2013 at 1:09 PM

      nude – it’s ALL about TV revenue & ratings. I can’t believe how many all-star games there are anymore. In reality, if the kids were told they couldn’t play once they committed to a school – they wouldn’t commit until after the all-star games. It’s unfortunate that Torii was hurt, more so for him & what would have been his Senior year of HS baseball.

    • irishpuma - Jan 2, 2013 at 11:57 PM

      Partially agree but the events also give the kids and coaches time to network and recruit. Anzalone did some work and practically guaranteed redfield and folston earlier in the week. I am sure Jaylon is putting in work and we shall see some committs this Friday and Saturday. Plus the kids get free gear. Injuries happen get over it. If anything they could do away with the combine type events. The one kid looked like he was going to pull a nut trying to lift the tractor tire today.

    • paiten34 - Jan 3, 2013 at 2:12 AM

      Nude -

      As a high school coach I have no problem with a player playing on a all star team. First I tell every member of my program to either participate in off season workouts or play another sport.

      Staying active is key for any athlete, especially for teenagers. I would expect a player of
      Tori Hunter’s abability to keep working out weekly staying in shape for football and preparing for the upcoming baseball season. What happened to Tori was a freak injury that could of happened regardless of what Hunter was doing.

      As for all star games I think they’re great for all the people participating in them. No, they don’t help a player improve his recruiting status or his skills on the field. The kids don’t get any experience playing against other great players. What they do get is a chance to have fun and enjoy playing a game that they love with other gifted players. The kids get to play one more high school game with no pressure to win or succeed just play and enjoy being kids.

      A game like this all America game, the Under Armor game and other all star camps are great opportunities for teenaged athletes to spend time with other talented youngsters just enjoying the game of football.

      To tell you the truth Nude, in my experience a kid is more likely to get hurt doing non football activities than playing football.

      • irishpuma - Jan 3, 2013 at 6:22 PM

        Well said coach and on top of that they are receiving some high level coaching from the likes of Herm Edwards, Mariucci etc. If they even pick up one trick for their position they are way ahead of the game. Getting face time with NFL coaches is once in a lifetime for some of these kids.

  3. nudeman - Jan 2, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    Addendum:
    I know Hunter was hurt in a non contact drill, so it’s likely the femur was already weak and practically waiting to be broken. One could make the case that this was going to happen anyway. I can’t disagree.

    But wait for the contact practices and the games: Kids will get hurt, and kids will miss seasons because of it. I hope no other ND players experience that, but that’s selfish. No recruit from ANY school should be exposing himself to this risk.

    Shut these games down.

    • bernhtp - Jan 2, 2013 at 1:11 PM

      I’m not a doctor, let alone an orthoped, but the non-contact nature of this bothers me. People don’t break the femur (the largest bone in the body) without hard contact absent some pre-existing condition. Amir also had a break without contact, but that was just an ankle where stress fractures are more common.

      I wish him a swift and full recovery.

      • 9irish - Jan 2, 2013 at 3:37 PM

        Bern,
        I was thinking the same thing. How the hell do you break your femur in non-contact drills? Either something was going on, or it was just the freakiest of accidents.

        It does heal, and he’s got time. It’ll take some rehab though.

        Go Irish

      • datelinetoronto - Jan 16, 2014 at 4:37 PM

        People can most certainly break their femur through non-contact. He could have stumbled while running a route and twisted his knee. The sheer force of this can absolutely break your distal femur. Is it highly uncommon for his age group? Yes. But it does not mean that Hunter had any underlying pathology that caused this to happen or that he is a weak athlete. It is just a freak accident, plain and simple.

        The worrisome part with this type of injury is that sometimes the break has intra-articular involvement with the knee which means it could impact his future knee health and lead to possible arthritis and total knee replacement later in life. Hopefully this is not the case. Really wish him the best of luck and a speedy recovery.

  4. North of Denver - Jan 2, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    Nude: you can make the same argument about college football in general (in your post, just replace “All-Star Games” with “College Football”).

    I think your point would be more accurate, if you said, “there’s no value to Notre Dame”. At the end of the day, the value is only about the value the kids get out of it.

    That being said, I’d go along with you in saying that if we offer a scholarship, it would be contingent on them NOT playing in these games.

    • nudeman - Jan 2, 2013 at 1:09 PM

      That is ridiculous.
      If you get hurt playing the game, at least you were out there on the field playing football against an opponent and trying to excel and win.

      No one wants anyone to get hurt, ever. But the All Star games represent needless risks. What if a kid blows out his knee? ACL,meniscus, MCL, ALL-CL Cam Roberson style, in one of these games or practices? There goes the life experience of playing D-I CFB, getting a degree on scholarship (yes, some schools will bail on a kid).

      And it’s all so a few sponsors can get their names plastered over everything that moves for a week without any exposure to risk themselves. If UnderArmor stepped up and said “If you get hurt and can;t play we’ll cover your college costs” I might feel differently.

      • bernhtp - Jan 2, 2013 at 1:19 PM

        By this logic they would stop playing (dangerous) high school football after committing. Competing against the best as they do in these elite camps/games is a high point for them. They get to see how they measure up and they get to develop in ways they don’t in high school. There are risks with everything football.

      • nudeman - Jan 2, 2013 at 1:54 PM

        bern
        WHY do they need to see how they measure up?
        They’re already committed, already rated, already set to go, bags packed, etc
        I understand it’s human nature to want to know that.
        I played baseball and ALWAYS wanted an at bat against the hardest throwing pitcher to see if I could hang. But as a career sales professional, if I got drilled in the ribs I’d still be able to go to work the next day (and fu** up a bunch of deals, same as if I hadn’t been drilled).
        Serious point is … unlike these kids I had NOTHING on the line.

        Here’s an idea: How about if MLB schedules the All Star Game right before the World Series so we can see how the players from both teams measure up against the best from the other league?

        Clearly I’m in the minority here, but I raised this issue last year and then again a few days ago. So it just pisses me off even more that Hunter is injured.
        And I guarantee some other guys will get hurt before the weekend is over.
        How will you all feel if one of ND’s blue chip recruits tears up a knee or shoulder in these games?

  5. 4horsemenrideagain - Jan 2, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    There is something completely obscene about these games, injuries or not. They are beauty pageants for football players, dog-and-pony shows that purport to showcase young talent, but that have become a sort of arms race, where kids are pressured to play in all of the games, or at least in the right ones. They don’t exist for the athletes or even for the schools at which these kids will later attend. They exist for ESPN, Under-Armour and even for the bottom-feeder “fixers” that have made high school football and basketball recruiting an industry, and one that is all but entirely unregulated and filled with unsavory characters (think Sonny Vacaro).

    • nudeman - Jan 2, 2013 at 1:56 PM

      4horsemen
      Perfect.
      Agree 100%

      Shut these things down

  6. sullyp18 - Jan 2, 2013 at 1:48 PM

    On a different note as expected Folston has chosen the IRISH, welcome to the team. Get better soon Hunter.

  7. tonyricemajorharris - Jan 2, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    These “all star” games are like bowl games. They’re all about fat cats lining their pockets for doing next to nothing.

  8. burgandy2260 - Jan 2, 2013 at 6:20 PM

    I knew a guy who ran a basketball team and really all it was was an under the table way of making $ on your prospects. All these kids want to do is live out their dreams and all these games do is put cash into pockets. These kids are getting the same exposure already and really don’t need the game to solidify it!

  9. dutch31 - Jan 2, 2013 at 7:22 PM

    Is it on video? How can you break your femur without contact. Impossible!!!!!!

    GO IRISH!!!!

  10. jerseyshorendfan1 - Jan 2, 2013 at 8:27 PM

    Keith said it best: tough break. Tough break, indeed. Get well quick Torii.

  11. bkgutt31 - Jan 3, 2013 at 9:47 PM

    Really interesting take here. ND can definitely beat Bama. The recipe can be found here at Ohio State over U of Miami a decade ago…

    http://snip.ps/NotreDameToUpsetAlabamaLikeOhioStateDidMiami

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