For a whole host of reasons, Robin Quick has learned to appreciate every day and every game of her son’s final football season at Wando High School.
After the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the shutdown of high schools and athletics last spring, it looked for a long time like there would be no season this fall for Brady Quick, a senior linebacker for the Warriors. But long before this season, the thought of him even playing high school football seemed unfathomable.
Quick was born with fibular hemimelia, a congenital condition in which all or part of the fibular bone is missing. In layman’s terms, Quick's left leg was significantly shorter than his right leg.
“We were told at birth that his left leg would be 5 to 7 inches shorter and it would be difficult for Brady to live a normal life,” Robin Quick said. “But there were options, things we could do to make it better. We were told his condition was much milder than others so we never hesitated to do everything we could to make things better for Brady.”
“Everything” would mean multiple surgical procedures by advanced orthopedic surgeons. Those surgeries began when Quick was four months old at the Rubin Institute for Advanced Orthopedics in Baltimore, Maryland. By age three, the process essentially involved placing rods, screws and struts in the fibula and tibia designed to assist in a gradual lengthening of the bone.
Over the years, there have been numerous surgeries and countless hours of physical therapy. Quick also has only four toes on his left foot, and it was discovered a few years ago, through an MRI, that he doesn't have an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee.
“He’s been through a lot of stuff mentally, and what he has had to overcome has really helped him mature and learn to deal with adversity,” Robin said.
Playing football wasn't even a thought in those early years, but Quick was determined to be involved in athletics as he grew older. He started playing football when he was five and also participated in baseball, swimming, lacrosse and basketball over the years. Though somewhat limited in terms of speed, Quick developed a competitive spirit and desire to excel.
“It was important for him to be a regular kid, which meant sports, skateboarding, snowboarding, whatever he wanted to do,” Robin said. “He wasn’t going to miss out on being a kid. He has never shown any hesitancy to go out and give it his all. Brady is going to do exactly what he wants to do. His attitude has always been great.”
Today, Quick's left leg is noticeably smaller and weaker than his right leg. The muscle definition that is apparent in his right leg is lacking on the other side. He walks with a slight limp and won’t break any 40-yard dash records, but his heart is huge and his determination unmatched.
“I just never accepted people telling me I couldn’t play football,” Quick said. “I always knew there were risks involved, but to me the reward and satisfaction of competing outweighed the risks. I always knew I wanted to play, regardless of what other people told me.”
Quick, a 5-11, 185-pound senior, is the starting middle linebacker. He also played fullback last season.
"Brady is all about work and effort," said Wando coach Rocco Adrian. "Never has he made excuses or held himself back. It's 'lets roll' all the time. Its a testament to how bad he wants to play and be a part of the team."
Quick said he hopes his experience can serve as inspiration to younger kids facing physical challenges.
“I would tell them the only thing stopping them from doing what they want is themselves,” he said. “If you feel in your heart that you want to do something, whether it’s sports or whatever, just set your mind to doing it. Anything is possible if you really believe in something.”
Quick knows his name won't appear on any recruiting lists. College football is not a viable option. Whatever the number of games Wando plays this season, 2020 will be it. So who could blame mom for being extra emotional when Wando recognized its senior players prior to the season opener last Friday night?
“I cherish every day that I can watch Brady run out on that field and play the game he loves so much,” Robin said. “The thought of us not having a season this year was heartbreaking. I am so thankful they can play, no matter how many games. I just wanted Brady to have one more opportunity.”
Wando defeated Cane Bay, 35-10, in the opener. The Warriors host Berkeley on Friday night.
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