Kevin Henry is grateful for Oklahoma State helping him further his football career and education.
But the linebacker on the OSU football team came close to calling it quits in college athletics. When Henry tore his ACL in a practice drill in 2017, he didn’t know if he could continue.
“I had a couple thoughts at times, I was like I didn’t even want to go to treatment,” Henry said.
Henry said the treatment he went through at the beginning of his recovery was the hardest thing he's endured. However, he had a big support group to push him through his recovery: his teammates.
From thereon, Henry fought tooth and nail to get back on the team. He’s had setbacks along the way, including a concussion early this year.
Although he’s a redshirt senior, Henry’s story isn’t done yet.
Because Henry redshirted his freshman year and was out all of 2017 with his ACL injury, he qualified to receive a sixth year of eligibility.
Another year to play at OSU was just what Henry wanted.
“It just hit me,” Henry said. “I realized I could have another year so I talked to some people about it. I asked at the beginning of the week and found out at the end.”
When he finally heard the official news, he was ecstatic. Henry, who has already graduated, received his sixth year of eligibility.
He called everyone he could to tell them the news.
Head coach Mike Gundy calls Henry a “success story.”
“We work our butt off but I’ve done this a long time now and the success I see with young men that we have played a role in helping them graduate from college and giving them the opportunity to better themselves is awesome for me,” Gundy said.
Henry’s success story culminated in him becoming the first member of his family to get a college degree.
Neither his siblings, who now work in oil refineries, nor his mother went to college. But Henry's mother certainly preached the importance of education to her son.
“She called me all the time, seeing how my class were going,” Henry said. “She’d make sure I’d go to class. She stayed on me academic-wise because she knew my potential and she pushed me.”
Henry had his mother motivating him back home, but he’s also had his teammates as motivators throughout his tenure at OSU.
They were as excited as Henry was when he found out he received his sixth year of eligibility.
“I think it’s amazing,” defensive end Brock Martin said. “He’s one of the hardest workers on the team. He’s shown every week, every year and every offseason that he wants to play. He wants to play at a high level.”
Henry’s story isn’t done yet, and he wants to make the most out of what he can in his sixth year.
“You don’t have that many years to play so I want to take advantage of every year that I get,” Henry said.