Jack Fuhrer practices on the track for his next big race. He focuses on form and cadence, two important parts of racing mechanics. (Photo courtesy of Abigail Mabe)
Jack Fuhrer is a senior on the Leesville Road High School cross country team. He has been running on the team since freshman year, battling through severe injury to get through the past three seasons. Overcoming that adversity, Fuhrer currently runs in the varsity races to contribute valuable points for the cross country team.
Fuhrer’s injuries began right after his first cross country season while training for his freshman year winter track season. “The winter of freshman year, when it was winter track season, I had this pain in my chest. I thought it was just a pulled muscle so at the time I continued running, but because of the severity of the pain I had to stop,” said Fuhrer. Radiologists came back and told Fuhrer his lung collapsed, and he had to go to hospital. “From then they let it heal on its own and said if it happened again, which it had a ten percent chance to, I would need surgery,” said Fuhrer.
Fuhrer was told there was a rare chance of his lung collapsing later in life. This led Fuhrer to think it would not collapse again for years at least, but his lung took a turn for the worse his second season of cross country.
At the beginning of Fuhrer’s sophomore cross country season, his lung collapsed a second time and he needed surgery. The first surgery did not work, so a month later his lung collapsed a third time, and Fuhrer had to overcome a second surgery. “After [the second surgery] didn’t work, [my lung] busted again and then I had to stay in the hospital for sixteen days and then I got a more professional surgery on it, and that one has worked ever since so I don’t really think about it anymore,” said Fuhrer. The healing process for Fuhrer was arguably harder than the surgeries themselves, as the prolonged pain and recurring injury prohibited a complete recovery. “Well after each [surgery], it was about two weeks to a month [of recovery time], and so after that time period was up I would keep trying to run and then after that I would run for like a week and it would happen again, which was not a good trend, but it was not running-related, so I was okay.”
Fuhrer has maintained a positive attitude through his misfortunes, his teammates supporting him the whole way. “My favorite part [of cross country] would probably be the atmosphere. There’s a bunch of great guys on the team. We’re all friends and we all joke around with each other. It makes the run a lot easier,” said Fuhrer. Fuhrer has come back strong for his senior season in cross country. He hopes to win states with his team this year, and aims to contribute with a personal record of a 16:34 5k this season. “My goals would definitely be to bring [my personal record] under sixteen minutes and then be in our top five and obviously win states.” Fuhrer sets an example that proves injury does not block the way of those who wish to succeed through hard work and perseverance.