Down, but not out: after season ending injury, D’Shayne James is going strong at rehab

Maddie Marsanico
Senior D'Shayne James (2) shakes his opponents hands before the 6A state championship game. Although he was not able to play, James was named a captain for his final high school football game.

Football camp had just wrapped up and the Pumas – fresh off of their 2017 state title run – were back at it preparing for a zero-week matchup against Pinnacle.

Wide-receiver D’Shayne James was about to enter his senior season as one of the most electric threats in the country. The Iowa State commit tore up opposing defenses last season, gathering 1,086 receiving yards tallying 15 touchdowns.

But on the afternoon of July 26 something went wrong.

“We were just doing a routine drill in the last five minutes of practice, they said hut, I took the ball, faked it and ran up the middle,” James explained. “I did a normal step, a normal cut and all of a sudden my knee just flew out the left side.”

In an instant the senior wide receiver’s career at Perry was over. He damaged his ACL, MCL, IT band, and his LCL, which cost him his senior season.

At first James felt confused. He did not know what had happened; all he knew was that something went terribly wrong.

“It was a pressure-type feeling; it was like trying to bend a ruler,” he said. He was completely dazed at the fact that this season had ended before it even started. After he collapsed on the field he had no idea what was going on. “I didn’t know what had happened. All my teammates were just telling me how bad it looked.”

Head coach Preston Jones explained “When he got injured we had to adjust everything we were going to do. It affected our depth and our receiver positions.”

Since his injury, he has gone from player to mentor.

He has encouraged many young Pumas. Acknowledging that he has been a “leader on the team and stuck to that role and tried to keep the guys confident.” He has kept the spirits up on the team through the battle to state from the sidelines, keeping the team going when no one wanted to practice in the summer heat or when they were in a difficult situation in a game.

“I was just there and did what I could to help out,” James said. After the injury, James had months of physical therapy to go through before even thinking about playing football.

“It was one of the worst injuries I had seen in my entire career,” trainer Rebecca Goetz said. His hard work at rehab helped him rehabilitate himself before the start of the college season. “It was also one of the best recoveries I had ever seen,” Goetz added.

But he was more motivated than ever. His future will not be put on pause due to his injury.

James has a full-ride scholarship for football to Iowa State University where he will be joining former Perry teammate, Brock Purdy. “I am pumped. I can’t wait to get back on my feet and play with my former quarterback and help Iowa State achieve their ultimate goal of a Big 12 championship.”