06.29.2016 - Alex Goff
Kevin Swiryn’s comeback story was inspirational, and then tragic, and maybe could be inspirational once more.
The former Saint Mary’s All American who became the USA 7s team captain had retired from the game in 2012 due to a series of injuries. He was in pain, beaten down after years of non-stop rugby, and needed a break. But along the way he got the passion back again.
During his break Swiryn moved to Seattle and got a job at Kibble & Prentice in the commercial insurance division. He was working there, with several other current and former rugby players, and after a while gave in to some gentle pressure to return to the field.
And he did, for all the right reasons - because it was fun. He played for the USA at the Maccabiah Games in 2013, and then started coaching at the University of Washington. Healthy, and not in pain, he started working out harder and harder, and then, as fans know, he got the call to try out for the USA team once more.
Amazingly, Swiryn made that team, suiting up for the Eagles in Dubai and South Africa, and getting warm welcomes from announcers and fans and opponents.
But then it all came crashing down in Wellington during the Plate semifinal against Australia.
He had worked so hard to get back there, and then, as he was running with the ball, he crumpled to the ground, his ACL torn, just like that. The comeback dream over, just like that.
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