Football, Sports

Tatham back on the football field after near career-ending injury

Playing football is one of Bronson Tatham’s greatest passions. He has been playing the sport since he was 6 years old.

Tatham is a junior on the football field and started every game at offensive tackle for Wartburg last season.

When a doctor told Tatham that he might not be able to play the game he loves again because of a blood clot in his leg, he was devastated.

“I was mad, I was upset, I don’t even know how to describe it, I just broke down,” Tatham said. “There wasn’t anything that anyone could tell me that would make me feel better.”

In March, Tatham had surgery on a fractured left foot, leaving him in a hard cast up to his knee and unable to walk on it.

About a month after his after surgery, Tatham noticed that his left leg was very hard and warm to the touch.

“I told my mom, something’s not right,” Tatham said.

On Easter Sunday, Tatham went to the Emergency Room to get his leg checked out. A doctor found a blood clot in his leg, and told him that he might not ever play football again.

Doctors told Tatham that the blood clot was caused from a combination of having the hard cast and being immobile.

Doctors did not want Tatham to play because they were concerned he might tear a muscle, which would cause internal bleeding.

Determined to play football again, Tatham decided to have his leg looked at by other doctors and found an answer.

They decided to put him on blood thinners, and said he would be cleared to play by July 22, so he started training for the upcoming season.

Wartburg offensive line coach Patrick Toohey said Tatham is a hard worker.

“He likes to workout, He loves to lift and he loves to do the things that we ask him to do,” Toohey said.

When the time came to be cleared Tatham was ready, but there was one thing standing in his way.

Doctors found another blood clot in Tatham’s leg and told him he would have to miss the entire season.

Tatham’s teammate, left tackle Chris Brinkmeier, said it was tough to hear that Tatham would not be playing alongside him at all during the year.

“We’re pretty close, he was my roommate last year and you get that connection playing together,” Brinkmeier said.

Tatham continued to workout and had his blood clot looked at by other doctors.

“I just had that little bit of hope that maybe eventually I’ll get back out there even if it’s at the very end of the year,” Tatham said.

Doctors found that the risk of the new clot moving to the heart and lungs was slim to none.

They then had him take a d-Dimer test, which is done to see if there are any active clotting agents in the body.

Wartburg's Bronson Tatham prepares for a block during the Oct. 11 game at Coe. -- Nathan Ford
Wartburg’s Bronson Tatham prepares for a block during the Oct. 11 game at Coe. — Nathan Ford

The test came back negative and on Sept. 23 he was cleared to play football again.

“I just cried, I was speechless and caught in the moment,” Tatham said. “I just looked at my parents and said this can’t be happening, this isn’t real, this is just something you see in a movie.”

Tatham isn’t back to his starting position yet, but he saw his first action of the year on in the Iowa Conference opener Oct. 4 at Central.

Whether he is starting, or not, Tatham said he is just happy to be back playing the game he loves.

“I have never missed something so bad in my life,” Tatham said. “You don’t realize what you have until it’s gone.”

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