Graysen Cameron Talks About His Recovery
To those of us unfamiliar with the challenges posed by a sudden and traumatic shift in reality, imagining what it must be like to come to terms with the imminent threat of physical disability, can be near impossible. But hope springs eternal – especially so in the face of extreme diversity. And every so often, that hope is rewarded in the best possible way. It’s the difference between facing the reality of possibly never walking again and daring to believe that one day, a return to playing college hockey may not be a thing of complete lunacy. Just ask Graysen Cameron, 20-year-old forward and Humboldt Broncos superstar.
After a tragic 2018 bus crash on the evening of April 6, which left Cameron along with teammates Derrek Patter and Nick Shumlanski unsure of whether they would ever play again, the promising young player from Olds, Alta, discovered that everything he had previously considered pretty much a done deal in terms of a promising life and future playing professional hockey for Humboldt and hopefully even for the NHL, had suddenly faded away into complete uncertainty.
Having suffered serious injuries to his spine and back, Cameron wasn’t sure about whether walking or running would ever again be a possibility, let alone stepping back onto the ice to play hockey.
Holding On To Hope
But the show was far from over for Graysen Cameron. And now, looking back on a recovery that has proved nothing short of the miraculous, the star forward is often reminded of how he had (not too long ago) completely accepted the stark reality that he would never play again. His path to recovery isn’t a journey easily described in words. Only 7 months after having broken his back, Cameron was booked for a surgery that would see the remainder of what the young player now jokingly refers to as “hardware” removed from his body – hardware including surgical screws and a steel rod previously inserted into his broken back in support of his twisted spine.
It was at that point, recalls Cameron, that his medical team for the first time since the crash dared let on that the possibility existed that he would eventually play again. And even though the days that were to follow were no walk in the park, the inevitable difficult moments soon turned into small windows of opportunity for soul-searching and for gaining a fresh new perspective on how he really wanted to live his life.
Following A New Dream
A lot has happened since that fateful day in 2018. Cameron has since not only made a successful return playing what would be his final season for his former team, but he also discovered what he now considers to be his life-purpose. After having experienced first-hand what it’s like to overcome extreme adversity, Cameron now wants to help others confronted by similar potentially life-changing events. Not only will Cameron get to join Northland College and Lumberjacks hockey (an NCAA Division III program) come next season, but he will also get to follow a new dream of becoming a sports psychologist and of helping others.
Or in Graysen Cameron’s own words, success is all about a little thing called ‘perspective’.