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On the comeback trail ! – Greg Childs refuses to lose.


It’s time to look back to last summer when Childs was having a great training camp, when the football Gods struck him down with a ruptured both patellar tendons in his knees on the same play. Nobody has ever returned to NFL play following such an injury, but Childs is set on becoming the first.

The Vikings are moving forward as if Childs won’t be a part of their future. It’s hard to blame them on this one. By taking this stance, they place the responsibility of making it back directly on the 2nd year player. In the team’s eyes, if Childs is able to accomplish the unlikely and play again, it will be like adding a bonus player to the roster.

Let’s give credit where it’s due. After all, Childs could have pouted and felt sorry for himself.  He could have lamented his misfortune and given up.  But instead he attacked his rehabilitation with the firm conviction of a person refusing to make excuses who simply will not accept that his gridiron life could be over. In doing so, he has become the poster child for what is right about the NFL. A role model if there ever was one. If the odds devour him and football turns out to not be in the cards for Childs, he’ll be successful in whatever else he wants to do.

By all accounts, though, Childs has worked incredibly hard during rehab and remains committed to becoming the first player to play in a game after such a devastating injury. Trainer Eric Sugarman said Childs never blinked when he heard the long odds against a comeback and Childs hopes he winds up as an inspiration to future players recovering from career-altering injuries.

In truth, Greg Childs isn’t going to be the NFL’s MVP in 2013, but he could be shaping up as the sequel to A.P and/or Michael Mauti when it comes to medical miracles.

In an environment where injuries are as common as Packer fans are toothless, few are as catastrophic as the one Childs endured last August when he tore both his patellar tendons after elevating for a pass and landing awkwardly during Vikings training camp.

This was not his first Patellar injury, but it was by far his worst. Just a few seasons ago, Childs was shaping up as a potential first- or second-round draft choice due to his production at Arkansas. Scouts raved about him after his sophomore season when he led team with 48 receptions for 894 yards and seven touchdowns.

Childs continued to impress as a junior in 2010, hauling in 46 receptions for 659 yards and six touchdowns before suffering his first season-ending patellar tendon injury in his right knee. By the time he returned to the lineup in 2011, he had not yet recovered the lost step that caused NFL GM’s  to downgrade him and he eventually slid to the fourth round into the welcome arms of Rick Spielman who of selected him with the 134th overall slot in the 4th round.

Was it a gamble? Perhaps, but not a huge risk considering where he was taken. The Vikings needed a vertical threat and Childs checked in at 6-foot-3 and nearly 220 pounds with 4.49 speed in the 40. That, coupled with elite leaping ability which enabled him to high-point the football, making him a nightmare for defensive coordinators in the red zone. The Vikings felt that Childs still had a first-round ceiling.

But that changed when Greg Childs collapsed on the turf in Mankato.

In a recent article, NFL Editor John McMullen wrote an excellent piece about Child’s journey. In the story, McMullen spoke to Dr. Ben Wedro, an expert in exercise physiology and athletic injuries who has worked as a medical consultant for Olympians as well as World Cup athletes.

When asked if the first Patellar tear made Childs more susceptible to the latest injury? Wedro disagreed. ”It’s unlikely” said Wedro. “A well-reconstructed patellar tendon repair should not be at risk, unless the player returns too quickly to play,” Wedro explained. “This was not the case for Childs, since there was significant time between (his first) surgery and the second injury”.

The article goes on to say: “Bilateral patellar tendon rupture is exceedingly rare, especially in an otherwise healthy athlete,” Wedro continues  “Causes more often include the presence of Systemic diseases such as kidney failure, systemic lupus erythematosis, rheumatoid arthritis and hyperparathyroidism, not illnesses that usually afflict NFL players.”

Childs double tendon surgery was performed by Vikings team physician Joel Boyd. Boyd re-attached and tightened up the tendons; something that wasn’t done in the first surgical procedure back in Arkansas.

So far the results have been positive. In recent workouts, Childs has been observed planting and cutting with no obvious signs of caution or discomfort, he even finished things by rising up and dunking the football over the crossbar before leaving the field. Looks like he still has ups!

“I’ve been cutting like that for a good little while now,” Childs told the assembled media. “I’m taking it day by day. I feel good, but, at the same time, the Minnesota Vikings aren’t rushing me. That’s why I’m doing so well now.”

According to Wedro, a rehab timetable on the return of quadriceps bulk and strength usually is delayed with this type of injury, and the return to premorbid athletic activities should take approximately nine to 12 months. In this case, It’s been just over 10 months since Childs suffered the injury.

“To return to full function and sports specific rehab, the quadriceps muscle has to be near full strength and the knee has to have full range of motion,” Wedro said.

Childs believes he’s very close to reaching that point in his latest rehab stint. “There’s nothing I can’t do right now. I could do everything I was doing before, better than I was doing before, right now,” Childs said. “But it’s just not rushing it. They’ve been telling me to pump the brakes. We’ve been sticking to our plan.”

Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier said via Dan Wiederer of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “(We’re) waiting on (trainer) Eric Sugarman and our medical staff to give us the green light. We’ll see what happens. I’m not sure what direction it will go.”

The odds remain long. Only two other NFL players have had similar injuries in recent years and neither was able to return; Wendell Davis of the Chicago Bears in 1993 and Gary Baxter of the Cleveland Browns in 2006.

“I’m just taking it day by day,” Childs said. “I definitely feel good”.

So far, the Vikings feel the same way.


– Dawgg


*** Below is a link to another terrific article on the science involved in the actual injury and repair of  Greg Childs Patellar injury written by

Arif Hasan, writer at The Daily Norseman.


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12 Responses to “On the comeback trail ! – Greg Childs refuses to lose.”

  1. will says:

    I don’t understand why people are so negative about the possibility of Childs playing this season.He has said himself,and the vikes aren’t disputing it,that he is running,cutting,running routes and catching passes from qb’s during wr drills.Aside from the obvious no contact yet,which noone has done thus far,he has been doing as much as all other wr’s on roster.So..why is it hard to believe that he won’;t gear up in TC and play like everyone else? If he couldn’t do all the same on field drills even Jennings,Patterson,etc are also doing,then I could see the doubt.If he were on crutches,or confirmed from Sugarman that he cannot do the majority of drills,I would also be a nonbeliever.As of today,from what we all read & heard about his presence on field,I would have no reason to not believe he will be a 100% participant come 7/25.

  2. […] Childs is certainly one of the top stories to keep an eye on this […]

  3. purplereign57 says:

    @will, I really hope that you are correct in your assumptions, and Childs DOES get to return to actual full contact play on the field. That would be a great thing to see, as I have been pulling for the kid since his awful misfortune. In addition to the two players mentioned in the article that came back from similar injuries, there has been one more. Thomas Davis, MLB for the Carolina Panthers has been able to pull it off. I live in North Carolina, so it’s easy for me to keep up with Panther players, and believe me, Davis is currently playing like he never had the injury at all. He’s been nothing short of remarkable. I sincerely hope that Childs can do the same thing. He’s a great player, so let us all pray that he has it in him to do what no one thought he could do.

    • will says:

      Thanks for the tidbit.Like I said,I could understand being negative that he’d play ever again,but it’s not like every time we see camp pics or video,that he’s on crutches,brace on entire leg,etc.The guy is running,catching passes and from every report we’ve been privy to,has been running the entire route tree.Now,I understand it’s not TC yet,but correct me if I’m wrong,isn’t he doing exactly the same drills 100% equal to all the wr’s? Of course he is,considering noone is able to play in pads or tackle yet,I’d have to assume he’s on track to play during TC right out of the box.Unless someone else knows something we don’t.

  4. purplereign57 says:

    @will, I’m really, truly NOT trying to be negative here, ’cause I want to see Childs play as much as anyone else does. By the way, will, do you go on the Web to see videos of the Vikings practices, and see players that are rehabbing like Childs, or exactly where do you get to see if these videos?
    As far as Childs’ injury goes, I think the last 7 words of your post are key… “unless someone knows something we don’t”.
    Like I said before, I really, truly want to see him come back in a big way. I have yet to see ANY film on him, but would love to. I hear tell that he’s an excellent athlete. I guess I might have to go back and look at some of his college football footage. Didn’t he play for Arkansas with Jarius Wright?

  5. raemu8 says:

    This injury is so rare and the sample size is so small that a stastically judgement on how likely he can make it back isn’t feasible. Also, the advancement in surgical techniques has accelerated over the last ten years and you throw in the fact that he’s young, doesn’t appear to have had any set backs in his recovery and it looks to me that he could very likely return from this injury.

  6. purplereign57 says:

    @raemu8, I agree with you that advances in the medical field have been many, and have come swiftly. That is a good sign for people like Childs. At least, I hope that it is. I don’t have a clue as to how common or uncommon his type of injury is, although I DO KNOW that it was very serious, and from the way it sounds, there is going to have to be a LOT of work on Childs’ part, and some serious medical attention given to him before he can try ANYTHING besides practice drills. What happened to Childs was truly a shame, and I am definitely in
    his corner, cheering as hard as the next guy, for him to come back in a big way. I didn’t know much about the kid when the Vikings drafted him out of Arkansas, and still don’t, but I DO PLAN to do some research on him, and look at some film of him if I can find some on the Web.
    All I can say is that I hope that he heals well, that he wants to play for the Vikings, and that all of the hype that surrounded him earlier is true.

  7. Anton says:

    It was a good story when he was drafted, the Vikes took both Ark. WR and they have played on the same team since pop warner ball, then the same high school, both were recruited by Ark. and played together in college and both went into the NFL draft the same year, this is where you usually get split up, it is rare for a team to take two WR from the same college but the Vikes did so, I felt bad when Childs was injured, I wanted to see him make it, it would have made a great NFL story with Childs and Wright, I am pulling for him….

  8. Anton says:

    Obviously the writer of this article…, Chris Boynton does not like GB…… His quote shows this……….

    “In an environment where injuries are as common as Packer fans are toothless, few are as catastrophic as the one Childs endured last August…”

  9. Excellent work, numerous pretty great tips! I value you crafting this posting and the remainder of your site is amazing!

  10. purplereign57 says:

    Judging strictly by what Boynton has written here, and quotes made by Childs himself, it really sounds like he has a better than decent chance of actually coming back and getting some real playing time. Childs is young, and that is in his favor. Judging by the very positive nature of his attitude, demeanor, and outlook for himself, It would seem that he is very likely to surprise many people…in AND out of the football world.
    Best of luck, and Godspeed, Mr. Childs. You deserve it.

  11. purplereign57 says:

    Addendum to my June 30, 2013 post above…Although Thomas Davis DID SUFFER a terrible injury THREE TIMES, and is one of only two players in NFL history to return to full contact play afterwards, it was not a patellar tendon tear. Davis’ injury would normally appear to many as an even MORE DEVASTATING injury. Davis has returned to full contact play after suffering THREE ACL’s, uis a freak, a beast on the field after those 3 ACL surgeries. I’ve been bleeding purple all my life, but I live in Carolina country, and so I became a “two-team” fan when the Panthers came into existence. I LOVE THOMAS DAVIS. I looked for info on him when he was drafted, and, after watching some of his film, I KNEW, WITHOUT A DOUBT, that Carolina had snagged themselves a gem. He hits like a semi-truck. I was correct in my assessment. #58 will ALWAYS BE one of my all-time favorite Panthers…and, even though he got a very raw deal, and is now z Baltimore Raven, Steve Smith will be one, too.

    Since Childs’ injuries were Patellar tendons, I stand corrected as per my older comment above. I am, though, STILL one of Greg Childs’ biggest supporters, as I would be with ANY PLAYER that would have to go through what Childs has had to go through, EVEN IF that player was on a rival hated team. From all of the hype surrounding his possible return, and recognized work ethic, I sincerely believe that if the Viking coaches / management are giving thought to letting him go…THEY HAD BETTER RECONSIDER. SKOL VIKINGS!!!

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