Firehouse Subs Jacksonville Axemen Player Profile of the Week: Richard Alleger
The USARL National Championship game is only days away and Richard Alleger couldn’t be more ready. After tearing his ACL in the middle of the 2011 season Alleger could only watch as the Axemen took a brutal loss in the playoffs. Each player has their own drive going into the championship game but for Alleger it’s personal.
“This will be the same field I injured my knee on. We played there this summer almost a year to the day that I blew out my knee so that first match against Boston was a big one for me mentally. To make it back to the National Championships, on the same pitch I injured my knee, and potentially hold up the cup is a feeling I cannot put into words right now.”
It’s been a long recovery for Alleger following ACL reconstructive surgery but he had plenty of motivating factors. “A definite factor was the naysayers who told me to give up rugby league.” Alleger learned to play rugby at 17 in Pennsylvania, played for UNF, and has been with the Axemen since their inaugural year. “I am a very active person and ending my rugby career wasn’t an option for me so I decided to push through the therapy and get back to playing as soon as I could. My physical therapist Scott Crawley of Focus Physical Therapy is a lifelong rugby player and has seen and endured many injuries. His positive attitude right from the start truly helped put me get back on the pitch in 10 months.
The biggest motivator however was my love for the game. I was hired as the head coach of UNF’s rugby program and to see the joy this game brought to an 18-year-old kid who has never played before brought me back to my first practice time and time again. That constant reminder kept me motivated and positive.” Alleger was eager to get back into rugby league during the Axemen’s first home game of the season. “I had played my first game back out in my head a million times since the injury so when I got there I felt as if I had already played a game. I was nervous right before the match but once I took my first hit I recognized it was still the same game I fell in love with years ago.”
After over a year of waiting for the 2012 National Championship game day to get here Alleger and the Jacksonville Axemen are eager to take the field at 6pm Sat August 25th at MIT Steinbrenner Stadium. “I’M PUMPED! LET’S GET OUT THERE!”