Kofie Yeboah: A track star that never was

By Amanda Eisenberg on May 11, 2014

White-knuckled and sweaty-palmed, he propelled himself forward. Shwoom, shwoom, shwoom. His breath was heavy but smooth, and his legs felt like they were going to run off his body.

Loud, incoherent sounds vibrated around him, but he could only see the next 50 yards. His spikes dug into the track; he just needed to go a little bit faster, a little bit farther. Then he felt it.

He crossed the finish line, placing third. A sharp pain radiated through him, like he was sliced in half. He knew he wasn’t OK. Kofie Yeboah would not be running for the rest of his high school career.

                        *                                                         *                                                         *                                                         *

 

He pulled his hamstring, the doctors said. He came back too early, twice, he said, and was out for the entire season.

Yeboah sat on the hot bleachers and watched his teammates prepare for the race. He had a steely look in his eyes, knowing he missed out on breaking the record in the 200-meter sprint his senior year.

“The guy who broke the (100-) record played in the Super Bowl for the New England Patriots as a strong safety,” said Yeboah with his eyes trained on his teammates at Ravenscroft High School.

They practiced foot turnover and the sprinting mechanics while Yeboah looked on with sadness typically not associated with a high school senior.

Not only did his injury set back his team, but it also hindered his recruitment opportunities.

Virginia Tech, North Carolina State and High Point University all had expressed interest in the 5-foot-9-inch sprinter from Raleigh, N.C.

After the injury, it was highly unlikely he would come back, and Yeboah was devastated. He didn’t want to go to the practice following the accident. It was his first time returning to the track, but he needed to support his team.

Formerly the anchor leg for the 4×1 100-meter relay and 4×2 100-meter relay, Yeboah was an unofficial captain of sorts; the younger athletes looked up to him.

“I gave away my state champion plaque to a freshman on the team,” Yeboah said.

“He reminded me a lot of myself, and I wanted to give them something to inspire him,” Yeboah mumbled, darting his eyes away.

He just needed to stride, he thought. Maybe he should have hydrated more or stretched longer. No matter how well he did in the race, there was something else to improve. He was working towards a goal in his head he would never reach.

Photo by Julie Verdru

Amanda obsessively reads TV recaps and reviews, and she always seems to wear black, polka dots, glitter or bows. Some of her favorite things include cliff diving, irises, puppies and anything green.

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