MAY — Coming off a bronze medal in the Class A boys triple jump, a return to the UIL Track and State Championships as a senior might have been considered a foregone conclusion for May Tiger senior Jacob Brown.

But an injury in football season almost prevented Brown’s dream from becoming a reality.

During the first week of the football playoffs, Brown, “took helmet to the thigh muscle and it started bleeding. They had to go in and open it up to release the pressure.”

Brown suffered from compartment syndrome, which is defined as increased pressure within a muscle compartment of the arm or leg. It is most often due to injury, such as a fracture, that causes bleeding in a muscle, which then causes increased pressure in the muscle. This pressure increase can cause nerve damage due to decreased blood supply. There are fewer than 20,000 U.S. cases per year.

The injury required three surgeries on Brown’s leg in a six-day span.

“I didn’t know if I would be back,” Brown said. “I had my doubts, but I’ve overcome a lot this year and God has definitely had a hand in that.”

After just one physical therapy session, Brown joined the Tigers basketball team following the Christmas break, and began his track workouts on schedule.

Brown went on to capture the Region II-A boys triple jump championship on his final attempt.

“I was sitting in first with a lower jump, then one kid went and jumped a 42-9,” Brown said. “It was about the same as last year, everybody went and outjumped me on their last try, so I knew I had to go get it. I went 43-6, which is four inches off my personal best, that felt good.”

Brown finished third at state last year with an effort of 43-1, and his regional performance was almost six inches better (43-6.5). Still, Brown trails Oakwood’s Key’Undre Davis (45-3.5) in terms of the best regional qualifying effort.

“In the regional jumps I’m a foot and a half behind him, but for the rest of the year he was just jumping in the 43s,” Brown said.

The rest of the state field includes D’Hanis’ Peyton Higgins (43-4.75), Milford’s James McIntyre (43-3.25), Roby’s Kyler Covington (42-9), Gorman’s Trent Padron (42-6), Avinger’s Keldyn Schubert (41-9.5), Petersburg’s Tristan Garza (41-8) and Happy’s Jackson Davis (41.5).

Based on Brown’s trials and tribulations this school year, simply returning to Austin is a major accomplishment. But Brown isn’t happy just to compete.

“I would love to go out with a state championship,” Brown said. “I’m pretty confident, but I still have nerves and I still have high expectations. I’d be happy to medal, it just makes the experience that much greater. God willing I know there’s a chance. I have high expectations, but I know I have to go out there and get it.”

Brown will compete in the UIL Class A boys triple jump at 10 a.m. Saturday at the University of Texas’ Myers Stadium.