Sandy (Utah) Alta High's Elijah Glissmeyer shouldn't even be alive, let alone walking, which makes his senior season of high school athletics somewhat of a miracle.
The 6-foot-6, 215-pound two-sport standout slipped during a hike along Lake Powell off the Colorado River in October 2012, tried to stop himself on his stomach but kept sliding until he eventually fell off a 60-foot cliff, according to a wonderful Deseret News feature.
“We were hiking for over two hours and it was getting dark. We wanted to try to find the fastest way down,” Glissmeyer told the paper. “I did find the fastest way down -- it wasn’t the best way.” (This kid's got comedy chops, too, as evidenced on Twitter @elijahgliss.)
Glissmeyer's list of injuries, summarized by the Deseret News, reads like an MMA fighter's worst nightmare: broken skull, tailbone, hips, arm, nose, orbital bone and elbow in addition to a collapsed lung and severe skin avulsions. “I only had a swimming suit on, and some slippers,” he explained to the paper. “I thought I was going to die.”
His football career was over, and his basketball playing days were probably behind him, too. Except somebody forgot to tell Glissmeyer. Within a month, he walked, within three, he ran, and within four, he was playing basketball again -- for an Alta squad that reached the 2012 Class 5A state championship game -- AFTER HE FELL OFF A 60-FOOT CLIFF.
“My first game back was one of the most memorable experiences of basketball I’ve ever had,” Glissmeyer told the Deseret News. “The whole crowd was going crazy.”
Remarkably, Glissmeyer returned to football this past fall, recording 43 tackles, 12 QB hurries, two sacks and a forced fumble for the Hawks. And now he's the starting center for an Alta team that has started 12-1 on its state title chase. Glissmeyer totaled 34 points (7 3-pointers), 10 rebounds and three assists in a pair of games over the weekend.
This despite still not being able to fully extend his elbow, per the Deseret News. "That hasn't stopped me," he told the paper. Apparently, nothing can.
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