Sean Bouzigard jumped up in the air during preseason workouts — like he’d done literally thousands of times before.
But this time, Bouzigard’s balance got slightly off kilter, causing his ankle to roll when he landed and his foot to break.
Suddenly, all of the work he put into the offseason was in jeopardy.
Doctors didn’t know if Bouzigard, a thrower at UL-Lafayette, would be able to compete at all in the 2019 season.
But Bouzigard had other plans — big plans — to get back and compete.
The South Lafourche High School graduate rehabbed the injury hard and came back for the final few meets of the season.
Not only did he compete, but he competed well, finishing 2nd in the Sun Belt Conference in the javelin, while also winning individual titles for the Ragin’ Cajuns.
Bouzigard said the process of being injured, not knowing when/if he’d come back and then the thrill of victory have been a whirlwind.
He said the past few months have moved by so fast, but he’s so proud of how he was able to handle the adversity and still move forward.
“It was quite a rollercoaster with an unexpected injury only a month before the season started,” Bouzigard said. “At one point, I wasn’t even sure if I’d be able to throw at all, but I persevered and overcame my adversity.”
That, he did.
Bouzigard isn’t new to collegiate success.
He entered the 2019 season with tons of momentum after a strong 2018 sophomore season in which he earned All-Conference honors after posting a 197-foot, 8-inch throw at the 2018 Sun Belt Championships — enough for a third-place finish in the conference.
Bouzigard said he spent the last offseason working hard at getting bigger, faster and stronger, but that work all got put on hold about a month before the season when injury struck.
Bouzigard said he was doing a normal workout, and the thought of being injured didn’t even cross his mind because he’d done the same routine so many times before.
During injury and rehab, doctors remained non-committal on whether Bouzigard would be able to return to competition in 2019, but he said he always approached rehab with the mindset that he would return to compete at a high level.
And he did.
Bouzigard’s first meet was on April 13 at the Cole-Lancon Conference Challenge.
There was no rust, nor nervous energy.
Bouzigard won the meet with a 199-foot, 4-inch throw. He said he wasn’t even back to throwing at 100 percent during the meet, but still posted the huge number and the individual title.
“The 199-foot throw was my opener,” Bouzigard said. “I was fresh out of my injury and it was only a 5-step throw.”
From there, Bouzigard got stronger and worked back to his usual approach and routine.
In his second meet, the LSU Alumni Gold Meet, he fired a 205-foot, 8-inch strike — his personal best — to finish fourth.
After one final tune-up meet (another fourth place finish), Bouzigard moved to conference — the event he’d had circled on his calendar since last season.
The weather was wretched during that weekend, so throwers were not able to post their best numbers. But he was able to launch a 198-foot, 11-inch throw that placed second in the conference — just short of UL-Monroe sophomore Cole McKnight’s winning throw of 202-feet, 5-inches. Bouzigard was also well ahead of third-place by more than 11-feet — clearly among the elites in the league.
Bouzigard said to earn All-Sun Belt honors for a second-straight season is humbling, adding that all of his successes are credits to the people who have helped support him along the way — family, friends and former coaches and mentors.
“It means a lot to me,” Bouzigard said. “I’m very honored and blessed to put on and represent for not only my school, but my hometown as well.”
But now, Bouzigard is hungry for more.
He said he’s 100 percent healthy and ready to attack the offseason in hopes of making his senior season as successful as can be.
Bouzigard said he’s going to work on his timing in the offseason, while learning to be more patient with his arm — two things he thinks could have been the difference in being the Sun Belt runner-up instead of Conference Champion.
He said in 2020, he’s following the motto of ‘Go Big or Go Home,’ adding that he wants his last memories throwing the javelin to be great ones.
“I’m giving myself big expectations since it’s my last year ever competing in this sport,” Bouzigard said. “Next year, I want to win conference because it will be my last conference, as well as a home meet. By winning that, I’d get my name posted up on the Wall of Fame, which I’d love. I also want to qualify and compete at both Regionals and Nationals. And for me, lastly, I want to throw a distance of 220 feet, because that would put me in the Top 5 all-time best throws in the history of javelin at ULL.” •