Jeff Lowe worked hard to get to Boise State. He'd overcome a season ending injury, overcome lackluster recruiting, even overcome a potential academic disaster 1 semester before graduating from his Junior College... then came the real adversity. Ruled ineligible, knocked flat by medical maladies that came out of nowhere, and a massive credit load to make up.. how can anyone respond to all of that?
(Continued from Part I)
Ruled Academically Ineligible. Those three words have halted hundreds, if not thousands, of promising athletic careers.
When Jeff Lowe learned that he had been ruled academically ineligible, however, the last thing on his mind was ending his playing career. With the help of Gabe Rosenvall, on staff with the Bronco AD as an academic advisor and Asst. AD, Jeff petitioned the NCAA. Gabe took up Jeff’s cause writing and phoning the NCAA. He began his attempts in March 2007.
Jeff, after all that hard work, was released from the football team because he was 60 credits short and the odds of him being able to make up those credits by fall 2008, the next cut off date, or the NCAA granting him a waiver were slim to none. His dream of playing for the Broncos appeared dead.
Jeff, however, refused to accept that. He wanted to play football, and not just any football, but Bronco Football, on the Blue, so his quest began anew.
In June of 2007, a ray of light shined on him after many, many overcast days. The NCAA, that unknown amorphous almost star-chamberesque group abruptly changed direction and granted Jeff a waiver to play fall 2007.
They made it very clear that he would not be given another waiver for 2008 without great improvement of credits toward his degree. Boise State gave Jeff the opportunity to play for the team but as a long snapper not the DE position he coveted. He played fall 2007 and received All-Academic Honors.
Jeff was well on his way to making up those 60 credits but had been having back problems and needed to have a laminectomy, (spinal operation to remove the portion of the vertebral bone called the lamina.)
He had surgery in July 2008 which would have allowed him ample to time to be back in shape for fall ball. Once again, however, things would not go as planned. After becoming very ill, Jeff went to the emergency room with what was thought to be meningitis. Jeff was hospitalized for 2 weeks of treatment, receiving massive doses of antibiotics while waiting for a spinal fluid leak to seal.
During that time, however, it was discovered that Jeff had developed a pulmonary emboli and was told that he would have to go on Coumadin therapy. Coumadin is a blood thinner, which makes playing a violent contact sport, such as football, impossible.
Jeff's Doctors and the coaches agreed that he should not play while on Coumadin because an injury while on blood thinners would be potentially fatal. The coaches, however, encouraged him to take an active roll with the team as an aide. Jeff had dropped 30 pounds while hospitalized and was now barely pushing 200lbs.
Jeff was eventually released from the hospital, and he continued taking classes, doing his physical therapy religiously and attending team practices as a coaching aide. He kept working on his snapping when time allowed, but more for the exercise, and to keep in shape, than for any practical playing purpose. Despite not playing football anymore, Jeff was determiend to regain his playing shape.
Due to Jeff's hard work, and the support of the academic advising staff at Boise State, he started classes this fall 2008 with all 60 credits made up.
After all the adversity and hardships, Jeff will graduate at the end of this semester from Boise State with a degree in Communications.
That is enough to be a wonderful ending to this story, but that wouldn't fit Jeff Lowe..
Jeff's medical progress was surprisingly fast, thanks in large part to the hard work that he'd put in to get back into shape. Jeff was released by his surprised doctors, way ahead of their projections, and was added back onto the Boise State 2008 roster.
Jeff's first game was this past weekend's matchup with Utah State where he played the second half as the short-snapper on Special Teams.
Jeff Lowe will proudly wear #55 for the Broncos today, on the field in Moscow.