Basketball: Austin grad is back from a health scare at USF
Published 9:36 pm Friday, October 30, 2015
It was just a regular day of practice for Tom Aase when he felt it. First, Aase felt a little pain in his leg and then it began to swell. Aase thought he had a bruise, but things got worse quickly.
Before Aase even knew what hit him, he was going down for an emergency surgery just three hours after he had begun practice with the University of Sioux Fall’s men’s basketball team towards the end of last season. What happened to Aase was an injury that usually only occurs in car accidents or football games. Aase had taken a knee to the thigh in a recent game and when he received a couple of knees to the same spot in practice, he suffered from a rare sports injury called compartment syndrome.
Aase didn’t learn what he had until he got to the doctor and they figured everything out. Before that, he had been scrambling on his phone doing google searches to see what he had.
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“It was really scary,” Aase said. “The trainers didn’t know what it was and I was trying to figure out what it was. I’m happy they were able to find out what it was and do the surgery.”
When he woke up from surgery, Aase was pleased to see his parents had made the three-hour trip from Austin to support him. He spent the next six days in the hospital recovering from surgery and he spent four months after that in physical rehab.
There was a time Aase wasn’t sure if he’d ever play basketball again and that was hard to follow for the former Austin standout. Aase has one of the most famous hoops in Austin High School history when he made a game-winning alley-oop buzzer beating dunk to send the Packers to their first of three state straight state tournaments in his junior season. The thought of never playing basketball again was more then humbling for Aase, who is a red-shirt sophomore at USF this season.
“I think I always took basketball for granted before,” he said. “I thank God for answering mine and my family’s prayers. I’m grateful to be playing basketball again.”
Aase, who is back in USF’s lineup this year, said the first part of his physical therapy was the hardest as part of his muscle in his leg was pretty damaged. Since then, he’s battled back and he now feels like he’s back to full strength.
Aase was second in the NISC in blocked shots per game at 1.5 last season and he was second on USF with 3.9 rebounds per game. He’s hoping the Cougars, who went 8-21 overall last season, are on the verge of a breakout year.
“We had thirteen guys stay in Sioux Falls over the summer and it was zero the year before. We had a good summer and that will help us a lot with camaraderie this year,” Aase said.
Austin grad Zach Wessels is a sophomore guard on the USF basketball team and he also saw significant playing time last season.
USF will play at Minnesota State University in Mankato Feb. 19 and MSU comes to Sioux Falls Feb. Jan. 23. Austin grad Joe Aase, who is Tom’s cousin, is a member of the Mavericks basketball team.
The Cougars open their season against Emporia State Nov. 14.