A true Trojan

Published 6:51 pm Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It’s a sight all to familiar for Troy fans.

And one that broke my heart when I witnessed it again, for the second time in three seasons.

It was an ordinary play – Jamie Hampton came into the game to do what he does best, put defenses on their toes with his ability to run and throw the football.

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It was an ordinary play – with an gut-wrenching ending.

It’s really amazing how one minute can change everything.

For the second time in three seasons, Hampton found that out thanks to a season-ending injury caused during a Sun Belt game on ESPN 2.

While Trojan Nation held its collective breath as Hampton stayed on the ground waiting for the Troy physicians to aid him, anyone that saw the play, and especially the replay, knew the worst was coming.

In one play, Hampton’s junior season came to an end as a result of a compound fracture in his lower left leg.

But as he was being carted off the field, I noticed something I never thought I would see – a smile.

Hampton, who’s career as a football player is, likely finished, showed no signs of distress, or anger.

He looked as if he was in the back seat of a friend’s car. And that’s Jamie Hampton.

I have had the great fortune to get know him both on and off the football field over the past couple of years, and honestly, there are very few people in the world who are as genuinely kind, caring and overall funny as Jamie is.

Which is why the injury hurts that much more.

After his first major injury, an ACL tear in 2008, he gave everything he had to get back in position to be the starting quarterback of the Trojans. However, he did not get that opportunity. And while anyone else would have pouted or pitched a fit, Hampton accepted, and more importantly, loved and embraced the role he was handed for the 2010 season – and quite frankly, he shined.

I talked to Jamie after the Arkansas State game, and I remember how excited he was not because of his first touchdown pass in two seasons, but that fact that he helped contribute to a win his team had to have.

No matter what he did on the field, he came on and off the field the same way every time – with a smile.

When I saw the injury, I knew it would be the end of Hampton’s season, but I also knew it would be the last time I would probably see No. 7 on the field.

While it was heart breaking, I knew one thing – if anyone was going to bounce back from something like this, it was Jamie. This is not the first time he has been carted off the football field, he knows of the long road ahead of him.

But even with that in mind, he still has plenty of reasons to smile.

Greg Rossino is the Sports Editor for The Messenger, and he can be reached at greg.rossino@troymessenger.com or on Twitter at Messenger_greg.