Forsyth battles knee condition to join Sailors on basketball court | SteamboatToday.com

Forsyth battles knee condition to join Sailors on basketball court

Luke Graham

Isiah Forsyth does crunches while his teammates run sprints Friday during practice. Forsyth suffers from Osgood-Schlatter, a condition that can cause immense pain in the knees.

— Isiah Forsyth smiles through the pain.

But watch closely during most basketball drills, and the eyes of the Steamboat Springs High School sophomore display what his mouth won’t – a grimace.

Forsyth, the likely starting point guard for the Sailors this season, has Osgood-Schlatter, a condition that causes swelling, pain and tenderness just below the knee and over the shin bone. It occurs in children and teens going through growth spurts, and it results when the quadriceps contract and the patellar tendon starts to pull away from the bone.

“It just kind of depends on how I’m feeling. There are times where I don’t even want to walk around,” Forsyth said. “I can’t go 100 percent all the time. I feel bad for my teammates because I can’t go all the time. But I’m here to support them.”

The condition is especially tough on basketball players. Because the hardwood floor has little give, and basketball players need to be agile and make cuts, Forsyth has had to deal with crippling pain at times. It can be like playing with two broken knees, he said.

Forsyth said he started noticing the pain during a practice last year. It really started to pick up during the summer, when Forsyth grew three inches. Although the condition will go away with time, he has his “good days and bad days.”

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“I just hope for the best every day,” said Forsyth, who, despite the pain, has tried to run every drill in practice. “I’ve loved basketball for so long. Ever since I was little, I’ve loved to play, and basketball happened to be what I did. I’ll go through whatever because I love it so much.”

Forsyth has worked through the pain in part because he knows he’s a big part of the team’s plans this year. The young guard takes the place of two-time all-state point guard Michael Vandahl, who now is at the University of Denver.

Sailors coach Luke DeWolfe said Forsyth has the ability and talent to take over the spot and flourish.

But maybe more important, DeWolfe said, is that in Forsyth he knows he has one tough point guard.

“It really shows his heart

every time he gets on the basketball court, because you know he’s hurting from the second he gets on to the second he gets off,” DeWolfe said. “It’s just desire and will and a lot of character to fight through that pain.”

Forsyth is not sure if he’s done growing, but he said the knee pain has diminished re-cently.

That’s a good sign for everyone DeWolfe said.

“He’s a very, very talented kid,” DeWolfe said. “It shows again in his work ethic. He’s one of those kids that’s always here. He’s always in the gym. He’s always working hard. He lives and breathes basketball. He’s a big part of what we’ll be this year.”

– To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229

or e-mail lgraham@steamboatpilot.com