Adam Arsenault, Tufts University

Linebacker Adam Arsenault (Everett, Mass.), a 2008 Tufts graduate, had much of his college football career taken away from him by injuries, but they didn't stop him from working hard to get back onto the field. His display of perseverance and love of the game earned Arsenault the New England Football Writers Association’s annual Jerry Nason Award for senior achievement.

Arsenault’s achievement as a senior was simply making it back onto the field. As a freshman in 2004, he was the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Defensive Rookie of the Year. Playing well again for the first half of his sophomore season, Arsenault’s football career was put in jeopardy in the fifth game at Williams College on October 22, 2005. Moving in to make a play, his foot got stuck and he fractured and dislocated his ankle. He would not play again for almost two years.

The serious injury required major surgery. He had a plate and screws inserted in his leg. The recovery process was filled with complications. The bone did not heal quickly. This caused muscle atrophy and stiffness in the ankle joint that prolonged his treatment. With perseverance inspired by his love of playing football, Arsenault returned to the field for pre-season practice in fall 2007.

“I’ve always loved football,” said Arsenault, who was elected a two-year captain at Tufts. “It’s been a part of my life for the last 10 years. Our team is great. The coaches and all the guys helped me out. I didn’t feel like I had reached my potential as a player. I wanted to try to have one more season before I left. I respect Coach Samko, Coach Walsh, all of them, so trying to make it back this year kind of comes back to them.”

However, his misfortune would continue. After playing a great half of football in his official return during the season-opener at Hamilton College on September 22, he sustained a second degree knee sprain early in the third quarter. Because of his ankle injury and now the knee injury, he also incurred a lower back injury during his senior year that delayed his return further.

Nevertheless, he continued working hard and made it back onto the field for the second-to-last game of the season at Colby. He played a series in that game. Then in the final game of the season, with Tufts playing for a share of the conference title against Middlebury, he took a regular turn in the linebacker rotation.