École Secondaire Hanmer teacher and coach Anne Blanchette wasn’t surprised by student-athlete Derrik Bedard’s desire. Not for one second.
It was late November 2012 and Bedard just had his walking cast removed. It had been nearly two months since the 17-year-old broke his left leg in a volleyball game. He’d had enough of sitting out and missing the action.
He had enough of being patient. He only wanted one thing.
“The day he had his cast off, he said he wanted to play,” Blanchette said. “That’s the type of kid he is. He was ready to play. Even when he was injured, he came out to every practice and game to support the team. It was hardcore.”
Back in September, at the start of the high school sports season, Bedard was doing what he had been doing every year — competing hard. His high school team was in a tournament. In the first game, catastrophe struck.
It was the last set and the last point. Bedard was desperate to keep his team alive. While trying to save a ball from going out of bounds, Bedard jumped and took an awkward fall into a gymnasium wall.
He hit the court in a heap. He knew he was in trouble instantly. He couldn’t get up. Something was terribly wrong with his left leg. Bedard was brought to the hospital where X-rays would reveal the worst news.
Bedard had a broken fibula. His volleyball season was over. His entire 2012-13 high school sports season was in jeopardy. It was sobering news. It was harsh.
His leg was broken, but the injury failed to break his spirit and resolve. He refused to let negativity take root. Bedard made the best of his predicament.
“When I was first told my leg was fractured, I was disappointed,” he said. “It impacted me badly. I had to miss volleyball season. That’s what really hurt.
“It was tough sitting on the bench and watching. I stayed involved to help out any way I could. I wanted to be with them. I knew I just had to stay positive through it and know I would play sports again.”
After almost eight weeks, Bedard had his walking cast removed in late November. He wasted little time in taking his first steps. His leg felt good. It was that moment Bedard’s desire to get back to competing in sports ignited inside him.
His competitive fires had been hushed to a tiny flame during his injury and recovery time. By putting pressure on his leg for the first time without a cast and feeling good, Bedard realized he was going to be back better than ever. That tiny flame was now a raging inferno.
As much as Bedard wanted to suit up immediately and play, he knew he had to exercise a bit more patience. He couldn’t rush back.
Within a few days of having the cast removed, Bedard was jogging, pushing himself to his limit again. There was pain, but Bedard expected it. With each passing day, his leg felt stronger and stronger, better and better.
On Dec. 5, he made his return to sports by playing for the boys senior basketball team in a 50-37 loss to rival Confederation.
I had to go. I had to be there. It helped me stay positive. I learned no one should quit on their team because of an injury.
Student and member of the École Secondaire Hanmer basketball team
“It feels good to play again,” the Grade 12 student said. “I love competing. It meant everything to play again.”
Staying involved with his team turned out to be the best medicine for Bedard. The encouragement from his teammates, coaches and teachers kept him strong during the moments he felt down.
Bedard did whatever he could to help from the sidelines by being a constant positive influence and cheering his team on every play. Bedard knows it all helped him recover faster than expected.
“If I didn’t go, I know I would have been more discouraged,” he said. “I had to go. I had to be there. It helped me stay positive. I learned no one should quit on their team because of an injury.
“You have to stay involved. The more you stay away, the more it will hurt you. Being positive all the time makes your recovery go faster.”
Bedard is a positive presence in the school. He has been a stand out member of volleyball, basketball and softball teams at the school each year. He is an honour roll student with an 80 average. He is a member of the athletic association. He helps coach younger teams. He even works a part-time job.
“He takes things seriously,” Blanchette said. “Anything he does, he is serious about it. He excels in a leadership role because of how hard he works. Juniors and Grade 7 and 8 students look up to him.”
Bedard is a quiet leader, the kind who leads by example with day-in-day-out effort. He gives his heart and soul to his teams. He has earned a lot of respect from his peers and teachers. He expects others to always give their best.
He demands it from himself regardless of sport or job. Bedard has become a pillar for Hanmer athletics.
“He leaves it all out, no matter what he does,” said teacher and coach Michael McNeely. “He makes no excuses. He doesn’t talk a lot, but when he does, everyone listens because they know it will be significant.”
Bedard lives his life to have no regrets. He expects a lot out of himself in every endeavour he takes. He has big plans for his future after graduating this year.
Bedard wants to be a physiotherapist or work in the sports medicine field.
“I want to make the best choices for me,” he said.