Minnesota Duluth wide receiver Jason Balts in no way expected what would have happened in his last year of high school. In a game against Bemidji State, Balts was returning a kick in the second half when he got stood up by an opponent player while another came in low at him.
“I just had my foot planted and got hit low,” Balts said, via the Duluth News Tribune. “Legal hit, nothing dirty or cheap about it. He just hit me in the right spot at the wrong time, and the rest is history.”
Balts tore the ACL in his left leg. This was known as the “fool’s gold” to Balts, as it didn’t have an immediate effect on him. He was seen walking off the field and around campus normally.
“That’s the nature of the game,” Balts said.
— UMD Football (@UMD_Football) August 7, 2018
Balt has led the NSIC last season with 1,003 receiving yards while catching 57 passes for eight touchdowns, showing extraordinary skills and a tendency for one-handed catches. Prior to his injury, Balt was leading the Bulldogs with 14 catches for 264 yards and four touchdowns.
His injury brought a negative impact on the team as fellow cornerback Tareq Abulebbeh comments, “It’s a big loss, tremendous. He was living up to all the preseason expectations and more, and you can’t talk about Jason Balts without talking about his character and what type of person he is, just all the good he brings.”
Without Balt, UMD might have to rely more on Obi Ibenememe, Johnny McCormick, and Nate Ricci.
The time needed for recovery was not confirmed.
On Thursday, October 11, 2018, Balt was on his way to Ashland in preparation for season-ending knee reconstruction. On his way there, he did not lose faith and his positivity. He, in fact, is looking forward to his surgery.
“You can look at it two ways. You can be disappointed you need surgery, or you can be thankful you’re able to have surgery. There’s advances in healthcare and technology that I’m thankful for. Would I wish this upon me or anyone else? No, but that’s how are the cards are dealt, that’s how life goes. I’m thankful I’m able to take care of this now.”