WolfPack pitcher Kyle Krings fights back from ACL tear

Not+Madison+College+pitcher+Kyle+Krings.+He+has+fought+his+way+back+from+two+ACL+tears.+He+is+pitching+in+great+form+for+the+WolfPack+so+far+this+season.

Photo provided to The Clarion

Not Madison College pitcher Kyle Krings. He has fought his way back from two ACL tears. He is pitching in great form for the WolfPack so far this season.

Joe Ballard, Staff Writer

Playing collegiate athletics is a serious accomplishment. Playing college athletics after suffering an ACL tear is even more of an accomplishment. The recovery from an injury can sometimes be a death sentence to a budding athletic career. Suffering two ACL tears in the same knee and coming back to play again is a feat not often heard off. The rehab involved and amount of time away from the game can slow a player’s development to the point where many give up.

Not Madison College pitcher Kyle Krings. He has fought his way back from two ACL tears.  He is pitching in great form for the WolfPack so far this season. Krings is 1-0 in 7.2 innings pitched with a perfect 0.00 ERA along with six strikeouts to three walks.

After the WolfPack’s trip to Arizona over spring break, Krings was asked how he felt about getting back on the field.

“We had our first couple games in Arizona where I pitched all right, but it just felt good to be out there after two and a half years,” he said.

In his senior year of high school Krings was the starting quarterback for the Bryon Bears in Minnesota hometown. Looking back at the first time he tore his ACL, Krings said: “It was the first game senior year of football. I (jumped) up to throw a pass and I didn’t expect to land on my knee, and it just popped.”

According to emoryhealthcare.org  it usually takes about six months to return to sports after tearing an ACL.

“In five months, I was playing baseball my senior year,” Krings said.  “I was a huge baseketball and football fan and I didn’t get to do either of those, so that was tough. But I got some action in baseball so that was good.”

Unfortunately for Krings his recovery was short lived. In summer ball after his senior year Krings tore his ACL again.

“I was running to first base,” he recalled. “The throw was up the line so the first baseman came off the bag. I was going to run into him, so I tried to side step him and (my knee) just tore right in half again. It was (my) ACL and a lot of cartilage in there, (my) meniscus. Luckily my MCL was fine.”

It was back to rehab for Krings, and that meant more time away from any of the sports he loved to compete in.

A torn knee ligament is tough for an athlete. Many everyday activities for Krings weren’t affected and he was able to function everyday just fine. But it was a trying emotional time.

“The first time I (tore my ACL) I was like, ‘all right, well I just have to come back from this and try to persevere.’ But, the second time I was like: ‘Man! When am I going to get a break?’” he said. “That second time I was really down for a quite a few months. … Just knowing that if I put in the work now I would have success later on. That’s kind of the only thing that I thought.”

Rehab was a long process, about two and a half years for Krings. Getting back on the mound was always Kring’s goal. For rehab, Krings said, “I’ll hit the pool once in a while. A lot of single leg squats and knee extensions. … A lot of regular maintenance work.”

His rehab is going well, but it’s still a process.

“I still have a little pain in it once in a while if I overdo it,” Krings said. “I don’t get as much drive off of it as I used to. It’s still a process. It’s getting stronger and hopefully I can keep strengthening it.

“Being a right handed pitcher you have to drive off your right knee. … They used my patellar tendon and that’s pretty imperative for squatting and driving off. It’s just not all there yet.”

Talking about the change in his pitching Krings said he usually throws around 87 to 89 miles per hour but recently he has been throwing about 83 to 86. That change in speed may seem small but it means a lot to baseball scouts.

“I was hoping another couple months it will be at full strength. I’m doing as much as I can,” he said.

Madison College hopes he can regain his form as well. The team is looking to win a national championship this year after coming so close in the past three NJCAA Division II World Series and it will depend heavily on a talented pitching staff.