From Injury to Inspiration

By: Pulse Staff

UF football player shares his journey back from horrible injury

The legacy of Oiler football is on full display on Homecoming weekend and the grit and perseverance that goes with it is embodied in many players.

But junior Uriah Schwemley-Gieseler learned perseverance years ago as a freshman in high school.

That’s when Schwemley-Gieseler suffered a gruesome injury during a basketball game. His dad was the head varsity coach at Shelby High School. Schwemley-Gieseler wanted to make him proud so he says he worked hard and did what he could to get a starting spot on the varsity team.

The second game of the season, just before Thanksgiving, his season came to a crushing end.

“At the second game I got a steal and then I went up for a dunk, landed on my hands and it was really bad,” Schwemley-Gieseler said.

Clint Dillon is a track coach at the University of Findlay and he is Schwemley-Gieseler’s uncle. He was at that fateful basketball game and knew it was bad when he saw the play.

“You saw it right away,” Dillon said. “There was no ‘oh is he OK?’ I was at the top of the bleachers and you could see it from my position.”

“It shattered them (arms) both,” Schwemley-Gieseler said. “I had to get rushed to the hospital.”

The small hospital that was closest to them was unable to perform the surgery he needed so they head to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus. It was nearly two hours away.

The doctors planned to do the surgery in the morning but his arms started to swell and they had to act quickly.

“They were worried I wouldn’t have feeling in my fingers and stuff because of where it was at. They were worried I was going to lose my fingertips by not getting blood back in them fast enough,” Schwemley-Gieseler said. “Since it swelled up they had to do a fasciotomy where they cut it open to relieve all the swelling.”

He said he had hoped his arms were not broken but deep down he knew they were. When he woke up from surgery, his arms were in casts and that’s when it set in that his season was over.

He had several surgeries over the coming months, and had to have a skin graph. He jokes that when people ask him what happened he says “shark bite.”

“But I think it kind of helped me. It taught me to be a good team player and I was able to still be a leader on the team, but from the bench,” Schwemley-Gieseler said. “Just cheering my team on, being the best team mate I could be.”

“That’s just who he is. He’s a tough kid,” Dillon said. “He just kind of looked forward and said ’OK, what’s next and where do we go.’”

By the spring he was playing AAU basketball, and dunking again. He went on to have quite an athletic career in high school including a state track championship in long jump, but he says football is his favorite sport.

That is how he landed at UF. Now his Oiler teammates get to witness the character of Schwemley-Gieseler shaped by a horrific accident.

“I think that life just gives you things that get you down and I think everyone has different problems that we don’t know about,” Schwemley-Gieseler said. “I think being happy in life is kind of a mindset. You can control how you look at things and what you think about things.”

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