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Empodera Latina
Empodera Latina

Season 1, Episode · 3 years ago

Marriage & Resilience with Seth and Ashleigh Russell

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode I talk to Seth Russell & Ashleigh Russell, a couple who met at Baylor University while playing sports. Seth, who is ex quarterback at Baylor University, broke his neck while in the running for the Heisman trophy & his wife, Ashley Russell former soccer player underwent 3 knee surgeries during her athletic career. They talk sports, injuries, resilience & what keeps their bond so strong through all they have endured together. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/rita-bautista/message

You're listening to empowerment and all that podcast, your favorite podcast for women's empowerment, hosted by RITABOUTISTAF. It's time to be reminded of the authority of your inner goddess and elevate the power within. Are you ready? Thanks for having yeah, you're welcome. Thank you, guys, for giving me time and, you know, joining me on my podcast. So I want you guys to give me a little background on yourselves. Tell me where you're from, you know when you got it started in sports, and we'll go from there. Okay, so I grew up in spring Texas, so just about forty five minutes outside of Houston. I started playing soccer a little later, because I know you can start when you're for but I was into the gymnastics, cheerleading kind of thing, but then I saw my brother playing soccer and I wanted to be like him, so my parents signed me up and I played till I was twenty one. So Wow, twenty one. So how did you get started in football? Football was kind of a second or third tertiary sport. Okay, I originally grew up playing baseball and basketball. This was my brothers. Have three brothers, two older and one younger, the two oldest played every sport possible and so I just kind of want to fall all into their footsteps and we were constantly really competitive. And so growing up going to high school, seeing where the next level was going to be. Football was kind of the the calling card out of all of it. So I really focused on that and then got the opportunity to go to Baylor to play, play a little bit. Do you want football? That's awesome. So late. So Texas is really big on high school sports, right. So where did you guys go to school? So I went to client collins and spring and I played for a challenge soccer club and I went to Garland high school and good old Geetown, Geetown. So you guys got scouts that started coming to look for you. Like how did you get into Baylor? Did you go on scholarship? Like what was that experience like? So I actually signed to Baylor as a software in high school, so it was really early. I was the first one on my soccer team, but I just knew that's where I wanted to go and it kind of took the stress of college applications and, you know, going through that whole recruiting process, which I did to a certain degree, but just not as extensively, because typically you're not committing til you're like late into your junior year. But I just knew Baylor was the school for me. I visit, it was beautiful, the coaches were awesome and it was centered around everything that I wanted. So it was kind of a shoein. I just picked it and went forth. Yeah, yeah, my journey was a little different, as fortunate to Herc I my sophomore years you are in is awesome, as I was awesome exactly. Going into my senior season, I was originally committed University of Kansas to play football there. That went through my entire senior season. At the end of the season they end up find all the coaching staff at Kansas and so that really kind of opened up my recruitment again. Unfortunately, but fortunately, I still kept some good contact with other colleges just in case. You know, having the kind of backup Lan and coach Montgomery at Baylor, who was a quarterback coach at the time and Oh see, I respect out to him. I was like, Hey, do y'all have any opportunities open the obvious scholarships anything. I mean I'm open, I'm open, and he said not right now. We had this guy named Robert Griffin. The third other way. Well, Yes, R G three, well, Argie, yeah, big. It was going into a senior season and so they didn't they had all their spots filled. But he fortunately, a week later ended up committing to the draft and then that kind of opened up another spot and I went and...

...visited. Loved brows and the regime, the whole university, I mean just like her, like the campus is beautiful, I love their style of play, and so I ended up committing there and having a great time. That's awesome. So fast forward, you're sitting and in practice, right, was it, where you see this beautiful blonde hair injured. You Love Sund really went. Want to tell us a little bit about how you guys met you. Yeah, so we freshman year, before falls, before our fall schedule of school and sports started, we had to take an etiquette class and that was for all the athletes, all the freshman athletes that were coming in that year. So we were at the football facility in our team room, which is kind of like a theater seating the aisles go down the sides and you open, you enter into the back. US being freshman, they were saying everybody, athletes always sit at the front because you want to said a good example with the teachers and whatnot. So it never happened, but that's always line in the bathroom, let's be real. First Week. Yeah, and so I'm sitting in the front row. I'm probably about two or three seats in from the end and it's about classes about to start, and then I hear the door open and it shuts and you start hearing this guy coming down the hall, coming down the Aisleway, and I was kind of what's that? Weird noise, know, somebody crutching on some crutches, and then Ashley kind of crutches to the front and kind of looks down the row like somebody right, get up because I need to see here exactly what I was because what's gonna go between the two seats? Yeah, because she was recovering. She had acl surgery and so she had was in the crutches and everything, and so I got up and gave her my seat. I moved to the back, and so that kind of sparked a little bit of no interest, I guess, and both of both of our minds. And Yeah, later on we eventually kind of hung out and then here we are today. We are married in love. That's right, rightly. So give the girl your seat. Oh Yeah, always, for here on out, you're giving yours here. That's the trick. So okay, so you get injured. This is your first year, before you even start playing, right. Is that to you come to school already injured? Or how does that work? I came to school injured. So I actually tore my acl the last game of my club soccer career before I went to college. Oh my God, yeah, last game, second half, end of everything, and then completely tore it. So I remember having to have that conversation with my college coach, like calling her, kind of feeling like, oh, they're not going to want me anymore. But lucky because they already signed me, so it was already done deal. But yeah, so I came and injured. Had Surgery, I think two weeks before we moved up to college, because we had to take the second summer session just so you could get ahead on your classes, since we both have fall sports. But yeah, so came in injured and had to rehab the first eight to nine months. Wow, I missed that first season and red shirted. Wow, so were you able then to play the additional three years? I mean, tell me a little bit more about that, because I don't not too familiar with the red shirt process. Right, right. So it should give you an additional four years of eligibility. So what happened with me is I came and injured Rehab for that first nine months, I think it was. I mean it was in spring season, which is our offseason, that I started practicing again with the team and then my first practice back up full contact, I tore my you feel again, the same one? Who? That was horrible. Yeah, and it was just I mean it was pretty bad. But so I immediately went straight into rehabbing again for another nine months, maybe even more than that, because they were so nervous about me because it was the same knee and I don't...

...know. I think they just didn't want me to go back and do it a third time and I don't know. But so, yeah, I got hurt backtoback. So I didn't actually play until I was a junior, school wise, and I opted to just play that senior that junior season and then my senior season, because my senior season, I got hurt again, more of a minor knee surgery, but still surgery, and I was like this is three from eighteen to twenty. I think this is a lot. I want to be able to walk when I'm older. Yeah, so I just decided to stop there because I knew I wanted to go to Grad school when I had education aspirations that I wanted to pursue versus staying and playing longer. And so what is your actual profession now? So I am a registered Dietitian at a children as hospital in Houston. Awesome. And it was that what your dream job was? Is that what you wanted to do? Is that why you ended up wanting to like quit sports and go into Diet like Dietitian? Mean right? I mean I think I've always had an interest in nutrition just because that's such a big focus. Being an athlete, your nutrition is key. I didn't necessarily see myself as being a inpatient clinical dietitian per se, but you go through your master's program, you go through an internship program where you're exposed to all those different areas and I think after we work with adults, you realize that that's not what you want to do. Yeah, at least from a Dietitian sandpoint, because they won't listen to you, like they're set in their way. So those kids, you can mold their brains and they're just fun, like it's just a it's just a fun environment to go into every single day. Well, that's awesome. Most people don't want to work with adults anyway. Now, that's true, but if you have to tell them what to do, it's even worse. Rightly, when it comes to food. So, because at this point we've had a chance to taste everything, I know it. I'm well, so you guys meet in college, right, and so before, while you were going through all these injuries, then you you're also meeting Seth Right, Star quarterback. Right, I didn't know he was a quarterback. At the time he was the third string quarterback. Yeah, they're string. I didn't care about that, and I think that's why, secretly, all women do jugs. Kidding, I mean. I mean, I think that's part of the reason why we were able to be so strong consistent to each other, because I didn't like, I don't know, some girls have ill intentions when it comes to football players, like they want the star athlete and things like that, but that wasn't my situation yet. No, Oh, yeah, I guess, because you would have being good until he got better and then no, no, I mean that was a plus, but no, that's not the reason why. But yeah, he's like third string quarterback. When I met him didn't know it was a quarterback. So it's kind of that's cool. Yeah, but so how do you go from third string quarterback to where you're actually getting plays on the field and you're get it, you're growing some popularity. It's definitely a learning process. You know, with our system it's pretty easy. It was pretty easy to pick up, but it was executing it at a high level. which what's the guys that were in front of me? Like I was mentioned? No, Robert Griffin, the third you had a kid named it Nick Florence. That came after Ham bryce petty, who got drifted the fourth round, and then me. So it's kind of like you look forward, you look up to those guys where you think you can beat them out, which I mean I feel like I could have, but it was like waiting your turn, you know, coach brawls. It was big on waiting your turn, learning from the guys in front of you and gaining experience while watching through their downfalls and their upside, you know, and learning through that and then really trying to take advantage of the opportunities when you do get them. But, you know, for the most part it wasn't really it was tough for me because I was a competitor and I still am, and at...

...that point, whenever I'm a freshman sophomore or freshman and sophomore, I'm thinking to myself, I should be the one out there like starting, like I should be the one going through the plays, like leading the team to championships. But then on the flip side, it's like, you know, I'm glad I wasn't, because if it didn't happen that way, I mean I'm I'm completely content myself, like if it were, you know, Heller to freeze over, like, you know, I would take the blame for it. Like that's just that type of guy that I am. And watching those guys how they were able to succeed and be able to learn from there, like their positives and being able to be a part of a championship team and see the older guys kind of go through their processes of learning and them kind of doing what they did and then me step in and be able to be successful in the system as well. It was. I think it was just a great learning process and in total, that's pretty cool. That's that's actually that's pretty awesome that you talk about that experience of like learning from the person in front of you and waiting your turn. I think too many people nowadays are trying to rush through everything and they want to be the front man without having any skiller understanding whatsoever, as opposed to actually giving themselves the time to mature and get better in their skill across the board, with everything right. So kind of relate it to day to day life. Now, is that the dull? Yeah, going into the profression thinking why I'm not making that much money? Yeah, I'm doing that. It's just a process. I mean, I know I should be making millions of dollars already, but so, all right. So now you're playing right and then all of a sudden, so your first injury, pretty huge injury. Right. So tell us a little bit about what was going on. What happened? Yeah, it's the rundown on that. Yeah, so we were, I think, like scraped fourth or third in the nation and just bite football standings. We were running through teams like we're putting up video game numbers, is what they would call it. And this is your first year as a start, for share, as a starter, and so we're putting up like these numbers that are unheard of even in previous years at Baylor. I mean I was in the running for I was like the head guy in the lead for the heisman trophy that year. Everything was just going the way they need to go, like from all the hard work and dedication that all the players have put in. And then it comes down to we're at homecoming and it's a big tradition at Baylor, like, I think it was one of the original colleges, yeah, original colleges, to like actually do a homecoming or bonfire. And there's five minutes left in the game. We're up by at least two touchdowns and there's no reason why I should have just handed the ball off, but I was not thinking. I'm I'm right mind. I pulled the ball, which is on the zone. Read like you have the option to pull it or hand it off. So I pulled it and I'm running. I'm thinking gonna get a first down and a guy comes up and hits me kind of like my head is kind of like down at the angle and just basically like kind of crunches it to the side. I kind of sat there for a minute because I knew something was wrong. I didn't know what was wrong. I'man I didn't have any kind of paralysis or any kind of tingling or anything going throughout my body. But as I got up to start walking to get to the next play, because I'm thinking, okay, we're just shake it off move on to the next play, like I start trying to walk to the right and my body will only walk to the left. It was the weirdest feeling in my entire life that I ever been in and like I didn't know how to handle it, and so I looked over to the sideline. I called the time out and I knew that know all the eyes were going to be on me, because it was just like a that's just the way the cameras were. It's always looking at the quarterback, and so I would use the yard marker on the field and stare at that as I was walking, so I knew I was walking in a straight line, like if I wasn't. I would have easily been walking to the left and I walked slowly too. But as I got to the sideline, I was talking, everybody was...

...ready to go. I'm still in my head like what's going on, like I'm not freaking out, but just kind of like I don't know what's going on. And so I tell coach I was like I can't go, and they all everybody's like pause and looked at me like what are you talking about? You can't go. I said I can't go, and so everybody kind of pause for a little bit longer. It was like, okay, the whoever, the second string going whatever, probably never heard that at your mouth before. Yeah, the message not the type of Guy I was like, I was going to fight through. I mean I fight through everything like just because that's who I am. Yeah, so I'll go to the sideline and start getting evaluated. Then I game ends. I go to the hospital get x raisins up. I have a complete fracture through my facette joint on the right side of my sea sixth part debrae. So in Layman's terms, that's you're broken deck. I broke my neck. Yeah, and I shouldn't have been walking like I should. I there's no reason. I God has some kind of divine intervention in that that we're the way that it broke and how all the ligaments that were torn in there. That why I would why I did not walk off, I don't know, but I was able to and I kind of use that as fire because once I kind of got injured, is started going through the into the after surgery, going through the Rehab Process, and I was getting messages from people all around the country and all around the world, likes going to be pictures of their kids, saying my kid did the same thing you did, but he's in a wheelchair, and so it's just kind of like a kind of sparks that type of, I guess, emotion or whatever in you that's like, okay, I'm going to fight through this, like I had this opportunity to go back on the field and prove that even though somebody has broken the neck, they neck, they can make it to the next level, and that was my mentality going through all of it. Wow, now, so that's got to be the scariest thing to find out that you broke your neck, but I'm wondering, like you know, you're obviously watching these games while he's playing and everything, and all of a sudden you're watching the game and you know something's wrong. Like what is going through your mind and how are you feeling at this moment when you know something, something's not right right? I mean, I think I was high strung to begin with, an every single football game. I think every single time seth was to play, I'd like hold my breath because the quarter back gets Blain for everything and so and I get all offensive because you hear people in the stands like sending the whol Seth, you suck and I don't know, I always get really defensive. So I was on edge per usual, but I think, I mean when and when anybody gets hurt on the field, you obviously have that sense of panic, but especially being seth, knowing how well he was doing and knowing his dreams and his aspirations of playing in the NFL, this the first thing that goes through your brain. Obviously his health as well, but from what it looks like being in the stands, it looked like they were treating him for a concussion, and I know that shouldn't be a normal thing, but it just kind of is. I mean, I played soccer, I've been headed in the head numerous times, kicks in the head numerous times, like I've had concussions myself. Like people's a context for you just expect it, and so I was thinking it was more so a concussion and that's kinds of protocol. Look like was being fault on the field. But I think I realize something was really wrong when we were actually called down from the stands to go on the field and then go under into the stadium because something was really wrong with him and they were going to send him to the hospital. So it was scary. I was crying, his mom was crying, like there was just a bunch of things, like we'd obviously didn't know his neck was broken. I don't think we knew your break neck was broken at the stadium. We didn't know what do. We went over to the hospital, but just like seeing stuff, like I see him cry like two times maybe in a lifetime, and that was probably one of them, and just seeing like how somber he was. Just looking...

...at him like that wasn't myself right, like that wasn't my happy go lucky seth like. So I knew something was up and I think that was the scariest part. Makes me kind of Terry I thinking about it. Oh yeah, I feel like I want to cry just listening to this story. Like so, when you're in the hospital and they tell you all this and then you find out, okay, you have to undergo surgery, how long did they tell you the rehab process was going to be and how long all this was going to take free to get back onto the field? Yeah, so I initially went up to Dallas because I was supposed there was a guy up there that was the guru of next surgeries and Blah, blah, blah whatever. Went up there and just did have a good experience with him, and that kind of go back to the story. And I like God really puts people in places you don't know why they put them there or why so far across the country, whatever it was. But my brother, he was an orthopedic Sir, he's an orthopedic surgeon and he was he got his residency at the University of West Virginia, which was a hospital. That is the partner with you have, are the university West Virginia, and so he started doing a bunch of research on who are the best surgeons in the country to do this and end up being there was only three of them that could that were at the top of the list. There was one in Florida, there's one, I think, in California, and there's one at the hospital he was at, which it was just the craziest thing to think of, like just in retrospective, like how many positions in the country, let along the world, and one of them is at the same hospital that he's at. And so I ended up making a trip up there went through the full process and possible opportunities. What what can we do? What are some of the steps? And by the book, they told me that it was a double so a double level fusion. So that would have been ce five, see six and see seven would all been fused together, which that basically shut out any opportunity to play football every again just from just from the the risk that it would take of the forces and whatnot of on each of the other joints. Ended up doing a single level fusion. Everything worked out the way I was supposed to be perfectly. Everything healed properly, cheese, you know, by the grace of God, and it was just a it was a really interesting process just to kind of go through it. But once everything kind of got over the hump, it was really starting to get back to that mindset of okay, here's another operat. Like not many people get a second chance and this was a second chance of going back and playing the game that I loved. That's that's pretty intense to say I just broke my neck and I'm thinking about getting back on the field again. Yeah, so what was something that really I mean you mentioned, you know, your belief in God, right. What was something that really continue to help you ground yourself and empower you through this this injury? Yeah, I think it was just going back to that of the overwhelming support from Baylor nation, from anybody that followed collegiate football, I mean doctors, family's, anybody that knew anything about football. Like I mean, unfortunately you don't mind. The neck was like big news of Baylor quarterback, heisman front runner, breaks his neck, like what's next type of deal, and there was always kind of like a following of what was going to be next with that and just really seeing. Yeah, I'm coach brows his one of his big big sayings was go out and prove yourself every day because, like he's a guy that's a blue collar doesn't want anything handed to him, and he really instilled that in me and the standpoint of you're not going to get this opportunity again, like if if you fail it, like that's how on you, like you need to make the best of it, and so I really kind of took that to heart and really started to work harder and push myself to the limits of like in the weight room,...

I would do neck exercises, she's and like I would do it where you have these these big kind of rubber band type bills. Yeah, and I would put it to the top of the weight machine and I would just tie it around the side of my head and I would just lay and like free weight basically, and just hold myself up with my neck just to strengthen it. And Yeah, and my strength coaches, whenever they saw me doing that, they freaked out because they're like what are you doing, like you're not supposed to be doing this. I'm like just back off, like I got this, like I know I can. Yeah, I trust myself, like I know what I'm going to do. I'm not going to be ignorant this situation. But it was a that's what kind of kept pushing me is the guys around me. They're working hard. So I was like, I'm not going to pity myself, like I want to be out there with those guys, I'm want to get back on the field and whatever that takes, and just got pushing myself and using that as motivation. That's awesome. Now, is there any point, while he's doing these next neck exercises that you're like maybe this isn't a good idea, maybe you should probably take a little bit more time, or were you just like Gunn Ho the entire time, like this a great idea, just keep moving, because you know how much he cared about it. I mean from a Rehab standpoint, I definitely wanted him to rehab it, because whether or not his choice was to go back to football or just go back to life like that obviously needs to be mended. I was impartial, because I feel like you can't tell someone whose dream their whole life has been to play at the next level like don't try. Like my one thing that I remember always telling seth was like, if you were going to be one hundred percent safe going back on the football fields, I'm okay with it, but if there's a chance that you're more prone to breaking your neck now because of your neck injury, I won't be okay with it. I remember having those conversations so, so long ago, but I think a lot of people thought that was crazy. Like I remember many people telling me because way go such a small town. It was even such a smaller town before all this magnolia stuff came to that wasn't a thing until the very end of our Baylor experience. But like people at restaurants would say things like why are you letting him play, or like just like it's like his mom and to me and just making rude comments like Oh, they're my if this was my son, if this was my boyfriend, like I wouldn't do this. And it's like, well, you were not in the situation, but I think you kind of you hear both sides, but at the end of the day the only person who can make that decision is seth and so he respected the fact that I said, if you're not one hundred person safe, I don't want you playing. I don't know if he'd listen to me if he was told that he wasn't one hundred percent set safe to play, but that was always something that I made known when we did would have these discussions, which would be frequent, because I don't think I mean his neck rehab wasn't that intense. From what I understand, it was more so just healing of the bone and then getting your muscle stronger. It was like six months, like it wasn't that seems like a long time, but like in the Rehab realm of things, I feel like not. I mean sometimes it takes years to like a year to Rehab something, and so it wasn't that bad of like a rehab recovery. But I think like right after the surgery, seeing how how in pain he was was kind of like a gosh, because there's no way he's ever going to be back on a football field. He's he was so mean after surgery. Oh, I don't this is I think he's never been meaner to me in my life and it was such a kind gesture on my part. She's like, I'm literally letting you play. I want to never let him forget this. So I've flow to West Virginia because that's just something you're not going to forget. I mean by at this point...

...what we've been dating for two and a half to three years. I mean it would already we talked about marriage things like that. We hadn't gotten engaged yet, but it was obviously something that we were planning to do in the future them. So flew to West Virginia, was there for that whole eight hour surgery and then when he came back, who sing in a hotel? Unlike one night we decided to go over to his brother's house because they were living West Virginia at the time. So are they're about to move back, though, but it was Halloween time and so they had two children. So there's like candy at the House. I'm like, wow, there's a recee's peanut buttercups. Really loves that candy. So he's just like sitting on a couch like we're all just bringing food to him or we're just congregating the kitchen because he's just in pain. Will Not talk to anyone, and I'm Mike, I think I can break him, like there there has to be away so little. I okay, bread. It hasn't that against your mood, breaking your mood because you just were not happy. You were obviously in pain and we're on a ton of pain medication, but I was just going over like trying to get a piece of candy, like being Goofy, and he wouldn't talk to me, like it was the weirdest thing. I knew he could speak, we had spoken before, but he was just in so much pain. He went talk to me. Remember went and cried and had to tell myself, like actually, he's just sent a lot of pain, like it's not something you did like. But I was so upset because I'm kind of like sus to say a word, like say no, thanks or no or something like that. He just would not speak. But back to your question. So I felt at the end of the day it was set decision. I told him I will be supportive what you do. This is what I want out of the situation, knowing that you're going to be one hundred percent healthy going back, because we can't go through this again, because you may not get still lucky next time around. Interestingly enough, you get back on the fields and you're playing yea fully recovered neck, injuries fully healed, and then what happens? Another turn of events unforced the turn of events. Yeah, so we're playing Oklahoma. I think we may have lost one or two games by this time, but we're still in the running for, you know, possibly a big twelve championship, to National Championship. Just kind of get everybody is as middle of the season. We're at Oklahoma and it's a third quarter. We're driving down. It's was a third and long again, another third down, and I end up scrambling and scrambling up the middle and I kind of went to spend to my left and as I spun a guy outside Linebacker, our safety or somebody had kind of cracked down and went for went low and as I went low I was twisting in. My Foot stayed in place and everything else twisted with my body and if you want to look it up on Youtube, go for it. Probably don't want to if you're squeamish. Pretty bad, guys. I actually did a little bit of my own research and solve the video. Go and it's it's pretty bad. Yeah, and so it happened. I'm laying there on the ground and I kind of looked down up my my foot and it's facing about a forty five degree angle out and my other foot is straight straight up. I'm like, that doesn't look right, like there's something wrong here. As you can imagine, and I start I looked at it and I started kind of saying out I wasn't screaming, I was I was saying out loud. I was like, somebody pop it in. I just just pop it in. Somebody pop it in or whatever. And as I'm saying that, I could hear people in the background like, oh my gosh, like Rollo, there come will throw up like this. All this kind of like funny comment going on. Is told me that growing up on yeah, it's so my center at the time,...

...so cow full or he comes over because he's just one of those guys that like he's always going to help you up, and he comes over. I'm like, Bro, pop it in, pop it in, and he kind of like reach down to look at who what was actually going on, and he probably got about two feet from my foot and soft saw it was like I'm not qualified for that or something, something funny, and and then that's whenever kind of our our medical staff kind of came are who I think it was doctor, so came like sliding in and like grab my leg or whatever. They're like lay down. I was like just pop it in, just lay down, like just pop it in and so they like resised it and then popped it back in into place. I mean there wasn't I guess it was just located also, and at no point you pass out. No, no, no, okay, now I may guess there's just adrenaline. Yeah, I would have liked passed out immediately. That's just it just it felt like a really bad twisted ankle and if you watch it you understand what I'm saying. It's a really bad twisted ankle. And so I get carted off and once I get on the cart, like the whole no, Baylor, are not bailor the Oh you, stadium just kind of like just hearts like an uproar, like clapping and cheering or whatever, just kind of like, I guess out of respect or whatever. But I remember going under the stadium get x rays and as I was but before all that, as I was getting cart off the field, I was like I'll be back out, we'll just tape it up, I'll be back out and drinks like Missa. Yeah, the doctors are like, but they weren't telling me that because you couldn't really hear anything at the time. Of course, I get x rays and it's completely broken. And then it starts that next process of what's next. Obviously surgery. What after that is it is, in the fell eve, an opportunity. You know, I'm in my mind. I'm like I'm going to come back from this like there's not nothing's going to stop me whatever. And so we just kind of got to that point and we just kind of moved on and saw it. What's happening next after the surgery and Rehab? So while you're going through all this stuff, right, are you getting interviewed? Are you getting washed by, you know, these your potential scouts for the NFL? I mean like what's going on behind the scenes and in front of the scenes while you're going through all this stuff? Yeah, absolutely, so NFL. We weren't really allowed to speak to the scouts. Those more of kind of our coaches. Would we get packets and stuff from them and whatnot, but more of my focus was on getting my mincle back. I didn't really care about because that wasn't going to be something unless I got my ankle back. And I knew a lot of the hype had really fallen off from my name or whatever and being in the next level, and that was kind of like a guy like a punch to the gut, sort of like you work this hard and you get one injury and they just completely like get off of you, type of Dell. But understand that game is are, that league is business is very lucue did, like there's always the next guy in line type of thing. And I guess what was the toughest part out of all of it was going through Rehab and thinking, okay, it's been six weeks, I still don't really have any progress. So an eight weeks, still very little progress. Ten weeks, very little progress. And by that time, by all why, once the bone had completely healed and I was into the therapy side, physical therapy, things weren't adding up timeline wise, because we had the NFL combine that was coming up that I was invited to. That I accepted because it was just a by me. Don't you only get one opportunity at that right? And while that time, I think that was twelve weeks out from my actual injury, and so I'm training, trying to get back. Ankles just not responding. I had severe nerve...

...damage. I mean I just went through all like the the nerve test and everything like. Just things were not responding and I still have nerve damage to this day. But at that point I was like I just kept pushing through it, like there was I was in constant pain. It was just something that it was just pain, like I've been through worse. Kept pushing myself because I knew at what I wanted to get to, you know, and be that guy that broke his neck his junior year, broke his ankle his senior year and was still able to get drafted or possibly playing the NFL. That was just kind of kept my my mindset and how I kept pushing myself. But, you know, got to the combine, did awful because I just I couldn't move as it was really bad. I think that kind of hurt my stock a little bit as well, and then I'd ended up not running at my pro day, which, looking back, I probably should have just tried because I probably would ran faster than ninety percent of the other quarterbacks that were in that draft that year. Yeah, but it's all in hindsight, you know, wishing you I would have done something else, but I mean I'd have through of all great and the combine. I mean it's probably the best I could have done at that time and I just felt like with a cup, with a draft coming up, I was going to have an opportunity moving forward. So what were you thinking when you, I'm sure you guys are talking the entire time right, like you're giving her feedback on how it's going at the combine? What's going through your mind when he's telling you all of like his performance while he's there? I mean, I feel like he was always hard on himself. Like I feel like that wasn't like a new thing. I think he could have scored six touchdowns in a game and him say, Oh, I could have gotten one more kind of thing. So I feel like I never truly I don't know, like I'm not like this extremely knowledgeable football girlfriend or anything like that. I know the basics, I know what's good, I know it's bad, but I don't know that like, oh, that there was a bad one compared to this on a Michael Slik out through the receivers. Who Cares at a football? But I yeah, I mean I have a footle person when set is playing, but with that something I'll find it that interesting, to be completely honest. But I feel like I just took it as like it was another game. and His sess was being hard on himself. I didn't necessarily think he did better. He did good. I feel like I probably asked my dad and he said, Oh, all him, he could have done better, but my dad's can always be nice. He's not going to tell me something. This going to make me sad because I was excited for Seth. I mean I think it's cool and not everyone's invites to the NFL combine. Like that's just an awesome experience in itself. But yeah, I mean I don't think I really thought much into it. I knew he wasn't one hundred percent, but I feel who could be after getting that traumatic injury months prior? So I think we'd always thought that, you know, but the NFL was still a chance because he'd done so well in the past, even if it was like a late round or if it was a get picked up at her mini camp or something like that. I feel like we just always had that hope and that, you know, I wanted that for him to the only player in the world with these two major injuries. That still made it happen. So I feel like if you had had a couple more months to continue to Rehab, he could have competed with those guys. So I'm sure. Yeah, sometimes it's all about timing, right, and had you'd had more time, probably would be. I wouldn't be sitting here with you guys right now. Right. So, who knows, maybe in the future you might want to go back and retry again. Brett far would back into the end of baddle after many, many years. You never know, right. Yeah. So...

...one of the things I thought was interesting that you put down on like the little bit of you know, Ammfo that you gave me before him, was that you were able to be a lot more present during seth injuries because you weren't able to travel while you were rehabing your knee. Do you feel like? I mean, obviously it sounds like that was a positive thing for you, but as far as your personal career in sports, do you feel like that that was something that you missed out on just personally, or I mean, yes and no. I feel like I knew I didn't want to play professional soccer and, to be completely honest, I don't think I had the potential to play professional soccer. So it didn't like weigh on me negatively that way, but I feel like I don't know, it was just a fun experience. Like I loved being able to go to the football games and I love being able to be present, you know, during his injury, not necessarily being gone every single weekend, since we did both have false sports. To certain degree, I do kind of regret focusing more on stuff versus like my teammates and soccer, and I think that's something that I was able to tell them, like my senior years. Yeah, Gosh, I wish I wasn't so, you know, preoccupying stuff and that I was more present with y'all, because it's important to have your boyfriend because obviously potentially be your husband, but it's also important to have your girlfriends, right, and I feel like I kind of missed that on that a little bit, but at the end of the day, I mean I can't go back. So it's just being intentional about your relationships with your friends now and not pinting all of your, you know, time into your significant other. Like, yes, they should have a good majority of your time, be still also need to be present in others of your life. I feel like, yes, it was good because he needed me during that time. I mean it's not a guy doesn't have many people in his life that I feel like they can put completely open up to, and I feel like I was able to be that first set. But the negative to it was that I kind of missed out on other relationships I probably should have been working harder to keep while I was in college. What do you think about that? And I respect it. I mean, I definitely needed her through a lot of it and there were some times that, you know, her being around was annoying, but not not about a bad way, not in a bad way, not in a bad way, but it's more of like, kind of like in a lot of those moments where it was like I'm I don't say I'm like a deep thinker about I like to think, you know, long term, head down the road, you know, and so, you know, talking, you know, with with her just about kind of present day things or future aspirations or whatever, sometimes it was like I didn't want to talk about that right now. I just kind of want to focus on myself and kind of get back to the point, because I knew she was still always going to be there. But I mean, I definitely needed it. I'm not going to say I didn't, because I did, because I was in some dark times, just emotionally and behind closed doors, but whenever it kind of all came to fruition, it got back to it all. I mean I was definitely I'm not going to say I didn't want it. I mean I definitely needed the attention and I'm very blessed to have somebody that, you know, would basically put her relationships behind just for one you know who, even those if if it would be all for none type of deal or all for whatever, but end up being it continued to grow our relationship, our trust in one another, and you know that's those are times she's never going to get back and now I highly respect her for that and you know, I always want to...

...you know, she's my queen, and so, you know, I want to make sure that she's happy and everything looks forget it. Make sure that she's happy and you know, because she sacrificed a lot and you know, it's I feel like a relationship is definitely sacrificing one thing for another to just to move on in life and to grow closer together, and she was able to do that for me at that time. That's very sweet. I love that answer. So at what point do you look at each other and you're like this is it, this is the person I want to marry? Obviously she's been flying up Super Virgadia to see you and doing all these things, but at what point do you look at her? And for you too, do you look at Seth and you're like this is my future, this is who I want to be with for the rest of my life. Like what was that for each one of you? I feel like it was pretty early on for me, like within the first few months. I know it sounds cheesy, but I think if you ask anyone that went to Baylor with us, so that's I were obsessed each other forever and we still are obsessed with each other. I mean it's cute, but like we were just always together and I think everybody knew that seth and I were going to get married at the beginning. Like we just have so much fun together and we still have fun. That's my answer. With your answer, it's kind of stall my thunder. But like with me, my mindset of going into relationship was, am I going to is this somebody I can marry? Like I didn't date through high school. I could just I just never really found anybody that I was wanted to date or whatever, but end up getting to college and having somebody. I was like yeah, I could nothing. I think I could make the o. This will work. That's that's yeah, that's definitely work. You know, as we kind of kept hanging out and the first night that we really actually, I mean kind of got to know each other was a we were at one of our friends house and it's a funny story because she says she doesn't play video games and I'm kind of skeptical of it. So so we're I'm in there with some of my other other guys on the team at their house and we're playing I think FIFA or something like that, and she comes in, whatever, and she comes with some other friends. She comes sits right next to me and we're kind of chat a little bit while playing. I was like hey, and I offered. I was like Hey, do you want to play a little bit? She's like I don't know how to whatever, and like I've been playing for probably like a couple of games and I maybe scored one goal the whole time and I handed to her within thirty seconds. I mean if she scores a goal, I'm like what I you just you know, to feel like she hustled me a little bit and I think from that moment on, you being able to kind of hang out a little more that night shows that she we went outside and through the football in the pitch black, like I want why we did that, but we did it anyways. And where I was just kind of sit down and talk with each other and just share like what our aspirations were, what are some things that we regretted and high school, and just just really deep talking, even with we had just met. Basically, yeah, and so I think that was that was a good sign moving forward of we were able to share, kind of have that connection early on, to be able to kind of trust one another to share those types of, I guess, emotions and feelings and experiences. That, I was a definitely a positive for our relationship. I feel like we were able to like, I mean, you always talk about things in a relationship ship, whether it be in the beginning and the end, too late, too soon, whatever, I don't know, but like you talk about things that you wish you had done differently, things that are always just only you're lingering in your brain, right, like those regrets that you had, and I feel like that first night. We were able to talk about things like that, which to me it's kind of just like a sigh of release, like this guy still likes me, he knows like all my dirty baggage, like this is great, because we all...

...carry some. I think that was telling of our relationship a lot. To that you still facebook message me the next day, because that's like the thing we did back then, to give me his number that far. I mean, it was years ago, so I know it's like Instagram, so it was facebook then, but knowing that he was still interested in me and interested in pursuing me despite something that I don't know, just past experiences, that I thought he would be like, oh, no way, like turn his head away kind of thing. So that was nice. What advice would you guys give a brand new couple? Mean you guys have only been married for what, two, three years now to pass one too. That's we too. So what advice would you give a brand new newly would and then what do you think continues to keep you guys strong in your union right now, I think from the guy standpoint, yeah, the the Cliche of the woman's always right or the ladies always right, which and in some and aspects they are. We're always right. Some so, but you know, it's but it's also good to have a good balance, you know, of like a going back earlier, talking about sacrifices, like who, you know, somebody's going to have to sacrifice something, whether that's moving to a different city or changing jobs or starting a family. Who's going to still be this day at home? You know, just all those types of no conversations that need to be had, you know, at the right times, but definitely being able to be up front, be very, you know, I guess, real with each other, transparent, so that each person has an expectation of the other, so it's not somebody's holding something back that they really are wanting to do and they wait till they a year married and then it's like they blow up and then it's kind of then you have to put the pieces back together. We're able to continue to have a positive relationship with both talking to one another, being able to share conversation, deep conversation with real life scenarios, and I think that's something that was being a newly wed. I can still consider ourself a newly weds, you know, just still having those conversations and really supporting one another with so, like, if she wants to go and be Allstar model with Che I think she could. Mean, you know, I know, I mean I was support a hundred percent and if I wanted to go back and I don't know, go back to school or something, which I think goes from I'm trying to I'm trying to do, you know, and she supports me a hundred percent, and so it's like it's more of a sacrifice but also a supportive you know, but also give positive and reconstructive criticism back. So like, okay, if you are going to do this, how are you going to do it? Are you going to and just talk those out and really kind of have a blueprint of what you can possibly do and then figure out how to put the pieces together? I think I agree with him one hundred percent. I think what we have been dealt with the majority of our first few years of marriage is just how everything's changing. Right, like you're used to being so sheltered, getting, you know, your parents to support you, if you're so fortunate, to lesson, for them to do that for you, and just, I don't know, life is always changing, especially like when you're in your early s, and especially when you have someone else that has to be agreeable to your decisions, to and be willing to support you in them and willing to make some changes, even if they don't necessarily want to, just knowing that at the end of the day, you have to support each other, you have to make sacrifices as is appropriate, but also be that advocate and that person who is...

...is way the pros and cons with them. Just I don't have to put into words. I mean it's supert it's communication. You just have to talk so much, and I agree with what you said. If you keep things in, you don't talk about things, they're going to eventually come out, and rather sooner than later, because of its later you could have missed out on something big and you just don't want to live with regrets or saying like you held me from doing this kind of thing. Like we talked that we don't want to hold resentment to one another, and I think that just comes with being a young married couple especially. So I'm sure that's true of couples who get married later on as well, but I feel like, especially for young married couples, just making sure that y'all have that open line of Communication. It's always discussed, because I know that something we want to ensure doesn't happen in the future, that we were sent to each other because we decided to join in union much earlier than is, quote unquote, typical. Well, it seems like you guys have whatever it is that's working work really well. I think what's interesting about this, is why I wanted to interview you guys, is because I didn't know your story at all, about your injuries or anything at all other than just like watching your relationship at the gym, which, if you guys were to come to the gym with us, they both still like, go a hundred percent beastmote at the gym. So you would never think that either one of them went through anything like you think that they were perfectly fine, and then you find out this story. I think that's also a testament to your marriage and your relationship, as you guys are very strong on the inside and the out, and it's something that I really I really enjoy about both of you guys. So I do have a really interesting question. So both of you guys are college athletes. Right your career is now you have more of a professional career now, but knowing everything that you've gone through in sports, your ups and downs, through injury and everything, would you allow your children to, you know, invest their personal career in future in sports and athletics? Yes, one hundred percent. Absolutely. Although you want to protect your kid from getting hurt, they're going to get hurt in some aspect of their life, whether it be they're a band player, whether they're a sport player or whether they're an artist. Right, there's always going to be something that hurts them. And I know it's different because you're thinking like, well, they're physically going to get hurt, but I think I learned so much about myself and about just the relationships that can be created when it comes to sports, and that's something I would never want to deprive my children of. I don't know how I feel about, like, having a daughter and having her play soccer just because women are more prone to getting hurt in that sport. I haven't fully thought that one out yet, and I'm also not going to be the mom who's like no, you can't play soccer, like if if we have a daughter, which that's like, we're not having girl balls, like we're only having boys, because he thinks that's what's constithing whatever. You can kind of do that nowadays. And Yeah, pick your flavor, girl boy, but I at the end of the day, I think I'll let my kids do whatever they want to do from a sport perspective. But obviously, just knowing what I know, is being a Dietitian, how nutrition's important, how making sure you know you're getting proper rest, because all those things play a role on injuries and I think I think back to my injuries, I'm like, HMM, could I have maybe prevented that by taking care of my body better and things like that. So I feel like I'll be willing to whatever they want to do. I'm gonna let him play everything they want to play. I mean I've with me grown up all with my three brothers. We played every sport possible. I think you know that. It teaches you how to be a team player now first off, and then secondly, like, if you're in sports, if you're constantly you know, I guess, busy with something, you're not going to...

...get distracted with something else, like you're going to grow your mentality of at least that's a way I was always kind of taught and and learned as I went. Like if you have something to work for, then you're not going to let the other kind of smaller things get in the way. So, like say, like if you if you have a kid that just sits at home and doesn't do anything, you know, and they get bored and they want to go out there and there's they're probably more susceptible to getting into those negative of drugs or, you know, theft, all those types of things that are not a not positive in influencing a kid. But for me, I feel like sports was always kind of like a not a buffer, but it kept me away from all the other negative things that could have possibly happen, even though injury was always something that people are always worried about. But if you take care of yourself, if you constantly, if you push yourself to limit, I mean you're going to get hurt. It's just it's just the name of the game. If you want to be the best, unfortunately your body, you're going to break your body down. And even though it's having we're going to have boys. I've already prayed it, like you know, and I'm you know, I'm will be supportive of whatever they want to do. I'm will force them to be lefthanded, because I feel like lefthanded people are more likely to go to the I'm just just it's like we're forcing them going into the NFL. Yeah, no, but I agree with you though this, but it doesn't ness like what he said, though. Willst be supportive. Ever, whatever they want to do, if they do want to play sports, like getting him involved in something else, like I don't feel like that is something that would matter to us. Yeah, I would sing a little bit. We took about this all the time. We're like we're going to have we're going to have the greatest athletic children, like they have the best jeans, like if they have a kid who's like mom, I want to paint, I don't want to play sports, but he's like built to be an athlete. Like yeah, that's gonna, that's gonna. That's got a weigh on you a little bit. Yeah, shook about that, but six foot tall flute player, I know its like that just doesn't much a Huh. So that's our stamp sports for the Wrestle Fan. It's positive. Yeah, yeah, definitely. So any final words? Anything that you guys have on your mind that you wanted to say. Anything else you want to share for we wrap up, I think knows whoever. If you're going through a tough time, just know that it's the most cliche thing to say, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Like I know I've had several friends that have gone through much worse time than I have, you know, with losing family or whatnot, and them deciding to do something that they probably wouldn't have done it they were in their right mind. But just knowing that, you know there are systems out there, there's people out there that want to listen, you know, or even if you're going through a dark time, just go and find somebody, like go to a church, go to a pastor, I mean anybody that you know is willing to listen, sit down and just talk about it, because if you keep it in, I could just keep eating the way at you, like I know with my situation. What's my neck like? That was probably, like I said, the deepest and darkest time I've ever been in my entire life and I never want to go back there because I just I never really talked about it and anytime I would like, I couldn't get through the first sentence because I just start bawling. And and so being able to have somebody there, you know, like Ashley was, to be able to kind of be that rock to stand on. You know, somebody has at least one person out there, I feel like. And if you don't like, go find a pastor or go find somebody that you know is very spiritual. I feel like I'm with me. I know that was always a positive because it's somebody that I'll sit down and listen to you or, even if they're not...

...spiritual, maybe a counselor or anybody that will listen and to kind of put things out there, to let people know kind of what's going on in your life so that they can possibly influence you or help you make a better decision your life. I agree with that. I think, looking back at it now, I mean what he's talking about, like getting help when you need help. I feel like that's not something we necessarily did ourselves, but in hindsight is probably something we should have done. Like why didn't you go see like a therapist, or why didn't you see someone to talk to? Because I feel like you're close family and friends kind of like carry the weight of feeling like they need to fix you, and maybe that's why I was annoying, because it was like how are you feeling, like are you okay, like you want to talk about it, and so that's probably I was so annoying because I was trying to talk about all the time, because he's keeping everything in. But in retrospect we probably publy just should have gotten you set up with something like that, which is probably something they should do more so in college athletics, rather than just thinking, I mean not just in college athletics, but that's something that I don't think was ever offered to me. It may have. I may have just said no because I'm stubborn and you feel like I'm fine, but thinking of like how dark of places you can go, go to when you go through such hard experiences, I don't know, maybe something in the future, like we're bound to go through something dark again, like maybe it's something we think of before we just kind of hold everything in. Thank you, guys. That was awesome. I really appreciate you guys spending your time here and you know, yeah, I am a huge proponent of finding somebody to talk to, specially going through dark times. I've been through my own myself, and one of the one things that did bring me out of that was going to speak to a therapist. I had a therapist for about three to four years and, you know, learned completely different coping mechanisms. Is opposed to just keeping it all in. I think now I'm more open to like having a conversation or talking about whatever difficulty I'm going through, because it helps me get past it a little bit faster, versus just keeping it in bottled up, because eventually it does kind of, you know, blow up in your face without you expecting it. You're not knowing why you're crying. It like a leaf falling. You're like what is going but you know, obviously I'm trying to make light of it, but but yeah, I mean I agree with you a hundred percent. Going to find some help, finding someone to speak to, whether a pastor a therapist or friend or somebody who is in a good space to be able to give you that space you need, like a just a very protective ability to give you that free spaces is, yeah, definitely something I agree with you guys on. So we'll thank you so much for coming and you know, if you guys have any questions or if you'd like to reach out to Ashley or Seth, you guys can check them out on their instagram. That's right. You guys want to share your instagram handles, more than welcome to. I think's private, but maybe I'll make a private Ashley J Russell Ahli Ghim's like Seth Russell. Seventeen, I think original. Yeah, it's was that? Yes, that's seventeen. Okay, that's too over. Cool, too well, my instagram. Cool. Well, y'all, have a great night and thank you again for everything. Thanks for having us, thanks for tuning in to empowerment and all that podcast with your host. Read Aboutista. Want to help me grow the listener tribe. Make sure to subscribe to this podcast and follow us on instagram and facebook. Under empowerment and all that, and remember, keep it positive or don't keep it at all.

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