Hard work, rehab pay off
Aaron Teigen is one of those athletes that University of Mary track and field coach Mike Thorson deeply admires.
It would have been easy for the jumper to walk away from the sport. The senior from Rugby had been battling issues with his back, and his future in track and field looked pretty bleak.
“Last year it got to the point where he could hardly jump,” Thorson said. “The doctors told him it was risky jumping and that he could do permanent damage. A lot of people would say, ‘Hey, I’m not too thrilled about screwing up my back permanently.’ “
Teigen made the decision to soldier on after rest and rehabilitation. He won a Northern Sun title at the indoor conference meet in the long jump with a leap of 23 feet, 3 inches – a half-inch away from the school record – and reached a provisional mark.
“The fact that he’s jumping is a neat story,” Thorson said. “We thought at one point he would be done. He came back and is having his best year.”
Teigen’s back problems started in his junior indoor season and carried on to the first outdoor meet of the season. An MRI revealed a stress reaction in his lower lumbar vertebrae. Rest and rehabilitation was the recommendation.
“My whole thing was I couldn’t sit for more than a half hour,” said Teigen, an exercise science major who will enter physical therapy school at U-Mary in the fall. “I couldn’t stand for more than a half hour. When I stood up, I couldn’t straighten up. It was tough to do everyday things.”
Teigen’s rehab focused completely on his back, and he was able to limp through last season.
This year his rehab has focused on his lower legs and lower back, which has made a difference. He frequently visits the chiropractor.
While he’s still not pain free, Teigen said it’s bearable. He was able to make plans for his final season instead of hanging it up. After a successful indoor season, Teigen’s focus is closing his career in style during the outdoor season.
The Marauders competed in their first meet of the season last weekend in Sacramento, where Teigen rolled his ankle but expects to return for U-Mary’s next meet.
The Marauders drove through bad weather on their way home and it took them more than 38 hours to return to Bismarck.
Teigen is aiming for a berth in the national meet in the long jump and triple jump. He’d also like to set an outdoor school record in the long jump (23-8).
The fact that he won a conference title during the indoor season has prepared him for outdoor competition.
“I never thought it would happen,” Teigen said of his performance at the NSIC meet. “I didn’t think I’d be jumping the way I am.”
Neither did Thorson.
“He’s worked hard for his success,” Thorson said. “It’s neat when you see a kid like that work hard and have the kind of success he’s had.”
Teigen is the son of John and Karen Teigen of Rugby.
Editor’s Note: This article originally ran in the Bismarck Tribune on April 7.
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