JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Arkansas State University Track and Field athlete Frank Massey had to work hard to be where he is today.
Especially after being shot in his jumping leg.
“Track had me stretch for something, it had me go strive for something, without track, I don’t think I would even be here right now,” said Massey.
As a high school senior from Chicago, Frank Massey had to work hard to be noticed by recruiters.
“I knew to get recruited I had to jump big and run fast,” said Massey.
Head Track and Field Coach Jim Patchell and Assistant Coach Matt Vining took notice.
“We watched the film and saw he had something,” said Patchell.
“You’ve got to be fast, you’ve got to be strong, you’ve got to be explosive,” said Vining. “And, just a very well rounded athlete a little bit fearless too.”
Frank possessed all of those qualities but growing up on the south side of Chicago made things difficult.
“It’s a rough place,” said Patchell.
“I knew that college was the only choice if I wanted to be successful,” said Massey.
It seemed as though everything was coming together for Frank.
In just a few months, he would be in college as a student-athlete but that’s when everything changed.
“All you hear is gunshots pow pow pow pow,” said Massey. " “We all started panicking, so we start running.”
It was a trip to the movies that would forever change his life.
“I just felt my leg get really heavy, and I was running, and I just kept running and it felt like something was pushing up in my leg,” said Massey. “What is that?”
He was caught in the crossfire.
“I’m hit, I’m hit,” said Massey. “I look and as I pull my sock down, blood just gushes out and flows with my sock.”
Frank recalled his leg feeling numb with an excruciating and burning pain.
“This pain was undefinable,” said Massey.
Doctors checked to see if the bullet hit any important arteries.
“He told me it was a lucky hit,” said Massey.
But, X-Rays showed the bullet still lodged in his leg.
“It’s stuck there and they can’t do any surgery or anything,” said Massey.
For four months, the bullet would have to remain in his knee, in fear of what could happen if it was removed.
“First thing he said to me is coach I’m going to be alright,” said Patchell.
“I was more worried about him and what it would do to him emotionally because he really wanted to be ready,” said Vining.
“It does more than just mess with your physical, it messes with your mentality too because it’s traumatizing,” said Massey.
Frank came to Arkansas State and began rehab.
“After that it was getting him here, getting him in school, getting on campus, and actually getting his leg taken care of,” said Patchell.
“He’d be fine eventually, we just needed to get him a good place mentally,” said Vining.
Frank began going to rehab every morning.
“I started working harder in practices, I started doing bounds even when I didn’t have practice on weekends. I’d do bounds just to get my left leg strong enough,” said Massey.
His hard work paid off.
“The week of the meet we were at practice and we were doing jumps, I was jumping really bouncy and coach was like where’d that come from,” said Massey.
“He’s proven us all wrong, we thought he would have to red shirt this season, obviously he’s not. He’s jumped high already this year,” said Vining.
He jumped 6′8″ at the first collegiate meet.
“It’s not completely back, it’s not 100% healed. I still have to push each and everyday and it’s paying off but I train through pain literally everyday,” said Massey.
“Hes got an opportunity to be something special. The work ethic that he’s put in to this point to get back this quickly can only drive him on to something higher in the future,” said Vining.
“My biggest dream is to become an All-American, represent not my city, but my country. I want to be among the Olympians. I want to prove everyone who doubted me,” said Massey.