Zak Boggs is back on the road to recovery.
Four months have passed since the former soccer standout at Parkersburg High School tore two ligaments in his ankle during a preseason workout with the New England Revolution. He's been a permanent fixture on the team's injury report since opening day, but soon that all may change.
"It's been good to be back at practice, and hopefully I will be cleared by the doctors as soon as possible," Boggs said earlier this week.
The 25-year-old Boggs was anticipating a fresh approach to his third season with the club. Not only did he stay committed to his offseason workouts, but he also was excited about the prospects of a new coach after Jay Heaps was hired in November.
Heaps played 11 seasons with the organization and is a member of the New England Soccer Hall of Fame.
"The injury happened the third week of training - a guy on tryout just tackled me," Boggs said. "With the new coach, I was trying to make the best impression possible. After the injury happened, it was a bummer. Especially after all the hard work I put in."
Boggs, who has appeared in 29 matches and scored three career goals for the Revolution, was placed on the disabled list and reported to have a "sprained ankle."
"Technically, it is a sprain," Boggs said, "but the ligaments are completely torn."
Surgery was an option, but doctors told Boggs the ligaments would heal on their own and become even stronger. So Boggs chose the latter. He was on crutches for several weeks and has been wearing a boot since the injury.
As the timetable for his return grows closer, the Revolution have made a resurgence in the Major Soccer League's Eastern Division. They have lost only once in their last seven attempts, and currently reside in seventh place as they enter Sunday night's match against the New York Red Bulls at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.
With extra time on his hands, Boggs not only works on his conditioning, but he also spends additional time at Children's Hospital Boston. Last year, he was recognized for volunteering his time at the hospital and assisting with cancer research while being awarded the MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian of the Year.
"It helps to see the kids there at the Children's Hospital," Boggs said. "One kid had a multiple organ transplant. He had showed me pictures of himself playing soccer back in March, and now he was not able to walk or talk. That was really sad, and I realized that four months for me is nothing."
Despite losing out on half of the MLS season, the year has had its share of rewards for Boggs. Recently, he received news that he had been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, and will be studying molecular cell and cancer biology in England in the fall.
"It all started back at (the University of South Florida) where I was a Rhodes Scholar nominee," Boggs said. "USF contacted me and said they thought I should apply. There was only one catch - I had two weeks to fill out the application.
"It's a great opportunity. I didn't plan on getting it."
Contact Kerry Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org