To glory and back: The Dan Collins story


Friday night football games can be the highlight of many kids’ high school careers. As for Dan Collins, this was certainly the case. The senior captain had been savoring these moments since being pulled up to the varsity team his sophomore year. After being featured on the D Zone and many other college football predatory academies, he was the focus of many premiere college recruiters. Collins was ready to take the next step from high school star to possible division one athlete.

That is, until a nasty injury left him sidelined for the rest of the season and perhaps his career.

“Dan is, first and foremost, a great individual. He did everything the right way, always looking out for everyone and doing the right thing. With that said, Dan is also a great competitor and our emotional leader of the team. He always leads by example,” offensive line coach Greg Miller says.

The Highlanders were 4-0 going into the Grand Blanc game, much of that success was due to Collins’ presence on the offensive line up front.

“Dan always protected my blind side. Being the leader that he is, he was instrumental in our success this year,” quarterback Brett Chaperon says.

Midway through the first half, the Highlanders were trailing the Bobcats and ran a half back counter to mobilize the offense. While the play was concluding, a Grand Blanc defender dove into the knees of Collins, sending him hurtling to the ground.

“It was after the play was over, a pretty dirty play I’d say. I was pretty upset, I threw my helmet off in pain and yelled at the kid for what he had done,” Collins says.

At that moment, when the defender hit Collins’ lower body, he tore many of his ligaments that hold his knee together and enable it to function properly.

“I tore my ACL, PCL, LCL, and many other minor things,” Collins says.

There is nothing minor about this injury though. The operation required approximately six hours of surgery and about a year and a half of rehab to repair it. But to Collins, the worst part of it all was that many doctors told him he may never play football again.

“It has kind of messed up my college plans and what I plan to do in the future. But I am doing some physical therapy right now trying everything I can to get back in the game,” Collins says.

With all the negativity surrounding the whole affair, Collins believes the key is to remain positive.

“I try to always keep a positive mind, that’s the big thing. Just think that everything is going to work out,” Collins says.

Showing such perseverance on the football field throughout the years, Coach Miller believes that Dan will be able to win this fight and achieve all that is in front of him.

“Dan is such a tremendous competitor. His great work ethic will definitely help him in his recovery process. I would love to have 11 players just like Dan Collins on the field if I could,” Miller says.

With the support of many behind him, Collins is confident that his future ahead of him will be a bright one.

“I believe my future looks good. I believe I’m going to get into a good college and I hope to play some football. I am very excited for what the future brings,” Collins says.