BOCA RATON, FL (Sun-Sentinel.com) - FAU safety Austin Jensen got dressed up for FAU's annual football banquet, got in a Ford Explorer driven by punter Mickey Groody, which also contained offensive lineman Max Karrick, and they headed north on 95 toward the Yamato Road exit that would take them to the hotel for the awards ceremony.
It was Feb. 13, 2010.
Jensen had just finished his junior year. While not a starter, he was seeing more action but was best known as a key on special teams. One of the fastest players on the team, Jensen could (can) fly down the field, and he was fearless and would blow through blocks to get to the kick returner.
The Explorer got past Glades and the Tom Oxley Center was to the east when a car swerved in front of them, going from the left lane all the way to the right, and another car tried to avoid it, and that car hit the Explorer, sending it out of control.
The Explorer flipped two or three times, and during one of those revolutions, Jensen was thrown from the vehicle.
He bounced on the pavement, and came to rest in the center lane, the Explorer just a couple feet away.
Groody and Karrick were able to get out and were OK. Willie Rose was in a car behind them and he was directing traffic around Jensen so he wouldn't get run over.
Shattered pelvis, two skull fractures, bleeding and swelling in his brain, road rash from his shoulders down to his feet, as his shoes had flown off..
Jensen was in bad shape.
As someone said, when your pelvis is broken in four places and that is the least of your worries, you know it's not good.
It was touch and go the first 12 hours in the intensive care unit at Delray Beach Medical Center, but doctors were able to control the bleeding and swelling in the brain, which was the biggest concern.
Fast forward to now.
Jensen working out in his hometown of Bradenton this summer. Bradenton Herald photo.
Jensen is upset that his time in the 40 was not in the 4.3 range, where it was before the accident. He ran a 4.4, and said that was because he had a rough workout the day before.
He took 17 hours of classes in the fall and did well in all of them. He is working out in the weight room with his teammates. His long term memory has returned, and while he still has some short-term memory problems, he is near normal. His goal is to play this fall.
Doctors have yet to clear him, and he won't be allowed to participate in spring drills.
But he is hoping and working toward the fall.
There is no guarantee he will be cleared, but Jensen is not giving up.
There might not be a better sight than to see Jensen in uniform in the new stadium this fall, lining up on special teams. Hopefully that can happen.