The recovery process has been slow but somewhat promising for Littlestown’s Xavier Sauvageau. The incoming senior long distance runner suffered a debilitating hip injury that sidelined him for the entire 2012 track season.
Through physical therapy, steady core work, a truckload of Biofreeze pain reliever, Sauvageau feels rejuvenated. He’s focused on retaining the leg strength and the endurance that catapulted him to a marquee and memorable 2011 cross country campaign.
Sauvageau provided moral support as the Bolts captured a Division C YAIAA crown with a 7-0 record. Though he kept busy by building strength in the weight room and pushing the development of his younger brother, Isaiah Sauvageau, Sauvageau described the past spring as a depressing episode of his stellar three-year career.
“It was probably the worst six months of my life,” Sauvageau said.
“I tried to get through it. I tried work harder with the things I could do. I was doing a lot of stretching. I’ve gotten so much more flexible. I’ve developed a lot more upper body strength. I still had to support the team even though I wasn’t running. It was hard, but it feels good coming back.”
Savageau sustained the injury prior to the spring season. A great deal of pain hindered his pre-season workouts.
“I’ve got a knot in my hip and lower back,” said Sauvageau. “The doctors didn’t really diagnose it. They said it was messed up scar tissue. The X-rays came out clean. The MRI came out pretty much clean, they called it a ‘bump,’ I didn’t know exactly what it was.”
Sauvageau said his father pinpointed it as a growth defect, a genetic issue.
“My brother Chris had it his junior year,” Xavier Sauvageau said. “He didn’t exactly say what it was, but it’s painful.”
Limber from a 30-minute run at Littlestown’s track, Sauvageau jogged home Monday night and finally felt free of discomfort. Sauvageau, who also plays soccer at Littlestown, is subscribed to a running program that gradually increases mileage.
Littlestown cross country coach Dan Lawrence is eager to return the alpha dog of his depth-lacking team. Though Sauvageau’s spirits were dampened, Lawrence felt his front runner handled the situation the best way possible.
“It’s difficult to watch someone who is so into running on the sidelines,” Lawrence said. “You see him in class every day and you just know he just wanted to be out there so much. My heart kind of was breaking for him. But, I also knew he was doing the right thing in taking it slow, taking the track season off and trying to get stronger again. The family’s had experience with this and I think they knew (shutting it down) was the right thing to do.”
This summer, Sauvageau plans on visiting a slew of potential NCAA destinations. While academics are first and foremost in Sauvageau’s decision, he said he’d like to prolong his cross-country and track career at the next level.
“It’s going to be tough talking to coaches, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do,” Sauvageau said. “Right now, I’m just trying to get distance in and just get back in shape. And then foot speed will come, throughout the fall.”
Sauvageau rattled off Richmond, Lipscomb, and Coastal Carolina as potential NCAA destinations.
He’s not looking too far ahead yet. Thoughts about navigating courses, picking off runners on straightaways, and darting up shin-slaying hills are now more inviting.
“Chris was really encouraging,” Sauvageau said. “He helped me out a lot with the mental part of it. You have to push through it and soldier on.”