Nick Green had surgery one year ago this week to insert screws to establish blood flow for the bone in his right knee to grow.
Eleven months later, the screws were still there, but that didn’t stop Green from culminating his high school season with a trip to the Boys Swimming State Finals.
The Columbus North sophomore finished second in the sectional and 21st in the state in the 500-yard freestyle and swam on the Bull Frogs 400 freestyle relay team that finished 17th at state. His efforts have earned him this year’s The Republic Boys Swimmer of the Year honors.
“I don’t have any trouble in the water anymore,” Green said. “This year has been a lot better in terms of dealing with it. Just being careful is the main thing.”
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Green was diagnosed with osteochondritis dissecans right before his freshman season. Some of the bone in his right knee was dying and being absorbed, and that was creating a hole. More than one doctor told Green that more of the bone would continue to break off and that he might not be able to continue to walk if he didn’t get the condition treated.
So last March 8, surgeons took bone from Green’s hip and partially filled the hole with bone plugs. He wasn’t allowed to kick in the water for six months, so he put a pull buoy between his legs and just used his arms to swim.
Green also cannot do high-impact activities like running or jumping, and he is limited to upper-body workouts in the weight room.
“I couldn’t do the same thing everyone else was doing,” Green said. “I had to do some different workouts. Sometimes in practice, if I feel too much stress, I’ll use a pull buoy, so I basically take the legs out of practice, and I only do pulling.”
Doctors told Green last fall that the bone was growing back and cleared him to kick while swimming.
Green broke through in the North Sectional when he finished second in the 500 freestyle in 4 minutes, 44.78 seconds. The next day, he received a call-back for a berth in the state meet.
“I felt like I got a lot better at the end of the season, moreso than the middle and beginning of the season,” Green said. “Normally, I get better through the season. This year, that didn’t really happen. It’s just kind of steady times throughout the season, and the end is where I really improved.”
Green dropped a little more time in the state prelims, finishing 21st in 4:44.62. The top eight made the finals, and the ninth- through 16th-place swimmers made the consolation heat.
Next year, Green wants to get into that top eight at state. He eventually hopes to swim in college and pursue a career in medicine.
“I would say Nick’s improvement has been very steady, but this year, all of the work he’s been doing over the past two years has shown off in several ways across the board,” North coach Logan Schaefer said. “There’s been ups and downs all along the way, but he stayed very even keel and continued to put in work over the long period of time, and it resulted at the end of the year for him.”
The Republic All-Area Boys Swimming and Diving team:
Nick Green, Columbus North: The sophomore finished 21st in the 500-yard freestyle and swam on the 17th-place 400 freestyle relay team at state.
Sam Russell, Columbus North: The junior finished 24th in the 200 individual medley and swam on the 15th-place 200 freestyle relay and 17th-place 400 freestyle relay teams at state.
Thomas Goble, Columbus North: The senior finished 35th in the 50 freestyle and swam on the 15th-place 200 freestyle relay team at state.
Jared Carroll, Columbus North: The junior swam on the 15th-place 200 freestyle relay and 17th-place 400 freestyle relay teams at state.
Evan Patterson, Columbus North: The sophomore swam on the 15th-place 200 freestyle relay and 17th-place 400 freestyle relay teams at state.
Grant Fehribach, Columbus North: The senior was a regional diving qualifier.
Matt Stuckwisch, Trinity Lutheran: The senior finished second in the North Sectional in the 50 freestyle.
Ryan Singer, Columbus East: The junior finished fourth in the North Sectional in the 100 breaststroke.
Columbus East: DJ Rhodes, Griff McGaha. Columbus North: Nico Jones, Christopher Lee, Michael Lee, Aidan McAlister, Paxton Rush, Ayush Panda. Jennings County: Trey Hundley, Peyton Moore.