Ravi Hollo has endured more than his share of misfortune.
The 16-year-old St. Catharines resident suffered a gruesome injury four summers ago when he broke his leg and tore several ligaments in his knee playing house league football.
“I was (at) running back and all of a sudden I took a bad hit. Someone led with their helmet right on the side of my knee,” Hollo said. “I said no more to contact sports. I didn’t want to risk it again.
“It was long ago but something like that sticks with you forever.”
Eight months of physiotherapy followed and Hollo admitted it was no fun.
“I pretty much said goodbye to sports that entire year just trying to get back healthy — not even where I was — but just back healthy.”
Hollo then turned to ball hockey where once again he was felled with a serious injury when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in the same knee.
Several more months of physiotherapy once again followed.
“I missed out on my Grade 10 track year because of it,” he said.
Hollo, a Grade 12 student at Sir Winston Churchill, said the second injury took its toll on him mentally.
“I went through a rough patch and put on a lot of weight,” he said.
Hollo was then introduced to the shot put and discus by a friend and immediately took a liking to it.
“It gave me the motivation to get back into shape and shed the weight,” said Hollo, who has lost about 20 pounds. “I definitely use it as a motivation to stay healthy and stay active. It doesn’t hurt my knee as much.”
About a year ago he joined the Niagara Olympic Club.
“My coach is great and my teammates push me in practice and that’s what I do like about it. It’s a community here. They push you to be better and make you want to be better,” he said.
He does miss the team aspect of football.
“It is a different type of animal because it’s not a team sport, it’s individual. It’s new to me. I liked to feed off my teammates but here it’s you and you alone,” he said.
Hollo has competed at the last two NOC events, including Saturday’s meet. He placed first two weeks ago in the U-18 division of discus with a throw of 37.93 metres.
“If it takes me somewhere I’m not going to say no to it. It gives me a reason to work out and stay in shape.”
Saturday’s NOC mini meet was the second of three and was attended by about 200 athletes. The third will be held Sept. 26.
BPSN’s coverage of track and field is made possible with the support of the Niagara Olympic Club (https://nocrunners.com).
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