The Fight to Return to the Track: Spencer Driggs’s Comeback Story


Photo courtesy of Don Green Distance Invitational at Moorpark High School

Spencer Driggs(pictured) competes in his second track meet at Simi Valley High School.

“Pop — his leg just snapped,” Head track coach Steve White said. “It was pretty gnarly.”

As then-freshman Spencer Driggs prepared for his second ever track meet at Simi Valley High School, the only thing that was on his mind was clearing the hurdles laid out in front of him and making it past the finish line 110 meters away.

Everything was going just as planned throughout the race, with the finish line being guarded by two more hurdles. Approaching the second to last hurdle, chaos ensued, as Driggs landed awkwardly after his jump. He continued on, but landed awkwardly after the next one, as well.

“Immediately, I knew that my leg was broken,” Driggs said.

To his surprise, this was only the beginning of Driggs’s agony.

“Soon after I was taken off the track, the golf cart that was bringing me ice [for my leg] actually hit me,” Driggs said.

The next day, Driggs underwent surgery to fix a broken tibia and fibula. He now has a titanium rod in his left leg. Driggs described his first steps of recovery, explaining that he endured, “five months of crutches and then one year of physical therapy afterward to get back to competing in track.”Although determined to make a comeback, it was certainly a long, laborious process.

“It’s taken him a while for recovery because that kind of injury was a substantial break, but he has rebounded well and has worked really hard to come back and rejoin the team,” White said.

Now a senior, Driggs is still in the grind of recovery.

“As of right now, I would consider myself 90%,” Driggs said.

While the original stint of physical therapy was for one year in order to return to the track, Driggs requires a three-year program in order to fully rehab his leg.

“His persistence and hard work are seriously exemplary. So many people would have just said ‘forget it’ and bail,” White said. “It still hurts that boy to run. He goes to physical therapy twice a week and comes out to practice every single day, and races as well.”

According to White, Driggs’s first race back was in his junior year for the cross country team.

“He did some practices and he worked out. He was part of the team the entire time. He tried to jump in, but the recovery definitely took him a full year.”

For his final season, Driggs has a clear cut goal set for himself — breaking five minutes in the mile. He always knew that his chances of returning to his original form in track were slim, but according to Driggs, he kept a positive attitude at all times, knowing that if he works hard enough anything is possible.

“He’s gonna break five minutes this year,” White said with clear confidence.

Even through all of the pain, struggle and grueling recovery, Driggs never gave up hope.

“I’ve learned a lot from my injury, but mostly how to get a positive attitude when I face adversity,” Driggs said.

Due to the current circumstances with school closures, a wrench has been thrown in Driggs’s goal to break five minutes. However, knowing Driggs’ story, he will overcome this as well as he continues on to the next chapter in his life.