Posted: 1:34 pm Monday, September 3rd, 2012

Gruesome injury couldn’t stop American Heritage’s Tyler Provo 

By Matt Porter

American Heritage senior Tyler Provo was held out of his team’s preseason game, Friday’s game against Atlantic and may miss this week’s game at state power Seffner-Armwood.

Though the Stallions could use Provo, a cautious approach won’t hurt.

Provo, a 6-foot-2, 225-pound H-back who is verbally committed to Syracuse, is the brother of Nick, who played at John I. Leonard and is hoping for an NFL shot after a record-setting career as a Syracuse tight end.

Provo has always wanted to build his own football career, but five years ago, a gruesome injury left that in doubt.

Before transferring to American Heritage for his freshman year, Provo played for Summit Christian’s varsity as an eighth-grader. In a Nov. 1, 2008 game against Boca Raton Christian, Provo twisted his body to make a tackle while playing defensive end.

He got his man for a loss, but his foot stayed planted on the ground as he twisted.

“It spun that foot right around,” said his father, Sam Provo, who was then a Summit Christian assistant coach and now fills that role at American Heritage. “He was lying face down on the ground, and his foot was at 11 o’clock.”

Provo suffered a broken tibia and fibula, his bones snapped above the ankle.

“I really didn’t know what happened,” Provo said. “I tried to get back up. I looked down and my foot was going the other way.”

Dr. Nicholas Sama of The Center for Bone and Joint Surgery of the Palm Beaches in Wellington put 11 screws and a plate above Provo’s ankle.

“The surgery was done perfectly,” Sam Provo said. “They thought he was never going to play again.”

After rehabbing with trainer Ed Smith at Wellington-based Athletes Advantage, Provo began running in February, 2009 and played that spring.

He played tight end, H-back and fullback for Heritage last year, helping the Stallions win the Class 3A state title. A three-star recruit according to Rivals, he committed to Syracuse in May and is the No. 17 recruit on the PBGametime Big Board.

Provo sat out American Heritage’s
Aug. 25 kickoff classic loss to Cocoa after his ankle was “rolled up” in practice the day before. He returned to practice last week, but was limited and was held out of Heritage’s 29-0 win over Atlantic. He may miss this week’s game.

Provo expects to return soon, and knows he’s fortunate to be working toward a repeat state title and preparing for a college career instead of watching from the sideline.

“It makes you work harder,” he said. “After I got hurt, it humbled me a little bit. You realize that nobody’s Superman.”