Ashton Tims - Illinois Interview by Olivia Bush Nomination and Photography by Erica Tims Issue 30 of Inspiring Teens Magazine
The Nomination: On 10/11/2019, during a game with Central Maroons Football, Ashton Tims’ leg was broken in two places requiring major surgery & hardware. He wasn’t expected to walk for 2 months but worked to be able to walk to receive his honors at his end of year banquet 37 days later. Despite missing 2 months of school he finished the semester with a 2.9/4. He’s still fighting daily to be able to run again so he doesn’t miss his senior track season. He hasn’t dismissed his dreams despite the initial prognosis surprising all with his positive outlook.
What was going through your mind the moment you found out your injury and the prognosis? I couldn’t see my leg but knew something was wrong. When they unwrapped my leg, I saw the condition, and lost it. I was inconsolable agonizing over the fact that I only had 2 more games of senior season and college visits starting the next day; why now!? Then to be told I wouldn't walk for at least 2-months or run for another 4-5 months was overwhelming!
Who inspired you throughout the process of overcoming your injury? My mom kept me going, my spirits up, and the bigger picture clear - that this wasn’t going to be the end of "it" for me. She didn't let me get down or pity myself and never let me focus on what I couldn't do.
Tell me more about the process you have gone through to overcome your injury. The process has been horrible from the first procedures/surgery and PT until now. I've never felt such pain, discomfort, or fear like these last 4-months. I was an active, independent teenager then dependent for just essentials overnight. It’s been tough and humbling. I don't like being a burden so there were times that I’d try doing things that I shouldn't. I’ve had to learn to ask for help. I also don't like being restricted so I tend to push harder than I’m allowed and end up being lectured. The unknown has been my mental obstacle. 4-months ago I knew what I wanted my trajectory to be for my senior year and college/athletics. Now I’m working to get back on track.
What was it was like getting to walk up and receive your award at your banquet? It was 37 days after my accident. The whole evening was a lot. My trainer told me that he’d be at our banquet so if I wanted to walk across the stage without my crutches that he was o.k. with it. I arrived with crutches but decided when we got there that I didn’t want to use them at all. It was my first time walking in front of anyone or seeing many since the accident since I couldn’t attend school because of pain/swelling. I didn't want to fall. Then coach mentioned the accident as he was calling me up and I honestly began to tear up a little. I had come a long way in a short time. It felt incredible!
What are you looking forward to doing most after fully recovering from your injury? Being able to compete again!!!! I’ve repeatedly said I just want to be normal again- to walk, to run, to jump! I love competing and pushing myself. I want to be unrestricted again and to show what kind of athlete I still am. I still have something to prove....to myself!!!
What is the hardest thing you’ve ever accomplished, and how did you do it? The hardest thing that I have ever accomplished is definitely learning how to walk again....and doing it normally. I didn't want to walk with a limp and so walking took a great deal of concentrated effort initially. Once I went back to school, I still had a slight limp but I didn't realize it. My track coach noticed it one day and so did my mom especially after school. Our school has 3 floors and a basement. I had classes on all levels and even though I was supposed to take the elevator and not stairs, I took the stairs. I didn't want to have to depend on an elevator. I wanted to be able to do something as simple and normal as walking stairs. So I did. It probably wasn't a good idea at first. I came home daily with a swollen leg and with discomfort but now I do it with ease and I started being able to do it with ease sooner than what was expected due to the severity of my injury.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be where you are today? I don't wish where I am or what I have been through since October on anyone. This has been a tough road and a tough battle.....but if someone does end up here - No matter what DO NOT GIVE UP because EVERY SINGLE OBSTACLE isn't there to stop you but it is there to make you better and stronger and to show you how far and how hard you can be pushed and can push yourself.
Image by Lauren L Photography
Where do you see yourself in 5 years/what are your plans for the future? I see myself attending and finishing college with my degree in the next 5 years. I hope to be starting a career as a Physical Therapist/Athletic Trainer. I feel Physical Therapists/Athletic Trainers aren't given enough credit for what they really do and how much of a difference they make, but I want to be able to do for another person/people what my trainer, Aaron Alford, has done for me. It's more than just getting me physically right. He's been a great support system and he has gone above and beyond just our PT sessions twice a week. Literally from the moment I went down on the field he was by my side and then at the hospital. He really is the best! I'm happy that he has been part of my recovery/rehabilitation!
What is your favorite activity or pastime that wasn’t in your nomination? I am a pretty laid back person. I like spending free-time hanging out with friends and family. Relaxing with people I care about is enough for me.
Do you have a hidden talent? What is it? Yes! I like to cook! My mom always says that I won't starve! I started cooking when was young because I liked to help my mom. I have also taken a few classes offered by my high school and I am even a TA in one of the cooking classes this semester.
How do you keep yourself organized with everything you have on your plate? My mother.... sad but true! Our family has a lot going on all the time. She keeps a family calendar and has since I was young because I have always been a year-round athlete. So, she keeps us all on task. I only hope some of that rubs off on me when I have to do it on my own.
3 Things on your bucket list 1.) See A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie in concert 2.) Get tickets to a Super Bowl Game 3.) Go watch the Summer Olympics in person
Who do you find inspiring? My mom, but I have mentioned her a lot already....so currently, with my recent injury and rehab, Derrick Rose is inspiring to me. He has had a career riddled with injuries and when most people would have given up or retired, he continued to push and persevere on faith.
What about you inspires others/why do you think you are inspiring? I think my strength and constant push through this injury could inspire someone in a similar situation. I don't know if I am inspiring, but I hope I am. I hope that someone going through what I have been through can see where I was and where I am and feel hopeful because when I was first injured that's what I was looking for. I was looking for stories like mine so that I could know what to expect or that I was going to be o.k. If someone like me could find my story and feel a little better, then that would be nice.
Ashton will be featured in Issue 30 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!