Notre Dame Football: Jarrett Grace’s Tremendous Comeback Continues


On October 5, 2013, Jarrett Grace’s football career was on the upswing. Notre Dame was playing Arizona State in Dallas in the Shamrock Series game. He was playing linebacker in his sixth game and was starting his third game in a row. He was also leading the team in tackles with 40. In the second quarter, it happened. Grace was involved in a play and felt a terrible pain in his right leg. He broke it in four places and injured some tissue. It was a serious injury and he stayed in Dallas to have surgery.

This was the beginning of a great deal of adversity for Grace. He came to Notre Dame as a four-star linebacker recruit for Colerain High School in Cincinnati. Notre Dame beat Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, and others for his comment in 2011. He was redshirted for the 2011 season, played little in 2012 and now was primed to make an impact that he and the coaching staff envisioned in 2013.

Instead, Grace would undergo surgeries and procedures along with hundreds of hours of rehabilitation. For most of this time, he endured much pain. He was determined to overcome all obstacles he faced. Grace has described how his faith in God, support of his family, and the support of the Notre Dame community helped him fight through the setbacks and challenges he faced.

In the Spring of 2014, he had surgery to help heal the damaged bone. He thought he would be able to play in the 2014 season, but the leg did not heal enough. Even though he didn’t play, Grace was active during the season coaching younger players and helping them learn a new defense. Linebacker Ben Councell, Grace’s roommate stated on numerous occasions the amount of pain Grace was enduring and how he’s tolerated it without complaining.

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After all his work, Grace participated in this year’s spring practice. He not only participated in spring practice, he played in the Blue/Gold game and is now part of the linebacker rotation. Joe Schmidt, Nyles Morgan, and Greer Martini along with Grace will compete for playing time at middle linebacker. Brian Kelly also cross-trained some linebackers to make the defense more flexible.

One way or another, Grace will play this fall and the news only gets better. This year Grace won the Francis Patrick O’Conner award. It honors the male and female athlete who best displays the total embodiment of the true spirit of Notre Dame.

As we look forward to a potentially great Notre Dame football season, let’s also remember Jarrett Grace. For the last year and a half, he has fought to overcome a terrible injury and has succeeded. Now he can help his teammates as they fight to make the Championship Playoff Series and possible football glory.

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