Javelin thrower working on elbow after tear
January 9, 2013
By Sebastian Moraga
State champion keeps working toward goals
With one hurl of his javelin last spring, then junior Bradly Stevens became the top thrower in the nation for his age group.
His 205-foot-10-inch throw broke his own school record, and earned a first place at the state meet in Tacoma.
Then he threw again, that same day.
“Right about here,” he said lifting his arm sideways and flexing it 90 degrees so his fist was just above his temple, “I felt a pop.”
At first, he did not want to accept it, because he knew what lay ahead.
His brother, WSU javelin thrower and former Mount SI High School recordman, Kyle Stevens, had heard his elbow pop while throwing, and had been out a year.
Still, he could not deny that something was wrong. He threw, but he returned to the sideline holding his elbow.
“It didn’t hurt, but it felt like blood rushed to it,” he said. “It felt really warm.”
Stevens had had a stellar junior season, so the prospect of a year’s rehab felt like someone had thrown a javelin at his future. Senior season is when colleges really make their move to snag the best athletes out there, and his dream of joining his brother in Pullman seemed in jeopardy.
But then Kyle stepped up, serving as a guide for his younger sibling.
“If it wasn’t for Kyle I would be a lot more worried and cautious,” he said. “Or I might just go the other way and not be cautious and blow my elbow out again.”
He only thought of quitting once, when he first saw the scanned image of his torn elbow.
“The doctor said, ‘You’ve completely torn it,’ and I thought of what Kyle went through and thought, ‘Should I even throw anymore?’ but then I snapped right out of it, thinking ‘You probably won’t get into college if you don’t do this.’”
Surgery, known to baseball fans across America as “Tommy John” surgery, happened Aug. 17. Less than four months later, he’s already throwing again, which has surprised his offseason coaches.
The throws reach 130 feet, about 70 feet shorter than that next-to-last throw in the spring, the one that broke all the records.
The newer, shorter distance, frustrates Bradly somewhat, given the heights he reached in 2012. He said he could throw 130 “in my sleep” last year.
Nevertheless, his offseason coach, Jan Olov, keeps his spirits up, telling him it’s almost unheard of for someone to throw 130 feet, four months after Tommy John surgery.
It seems to be working. Bradly wants to make state again in 2013. Not just state, but the state finals, the second day of competition.
“I have already gone to state as a sophomore and I didn’t make the finals,” he said. “If I didn’t make the finals this year, it would be like sophomore year again.”
Not only that, but his grades are up. A 2.0 student last year, his GPA has jumped to 3.2, he said. All in the name of getting to a good college and fulfilling yet another dream.
“I want to go somewhere that will help me get to the Olympics in 2016,” he said. “My dad is looking forward to flying down there and watching me and Kyle throw.”
Sebastian Moraga: 392-6434, ext. 221, or firstname.lastname@example.org.