After getting the biggest scare of his young life on Saturday, Cahokia senior Ja’Mari Ward apparently will be healthy enough to compete again this season.
Ward holds the state record in the long jump and, according to one sanctioning body, he is the national record holder in the triple jump. He left kneecap was dislocated during a jump at the Collinsville Invitational on Saturday.
It was popped back into place and, while still sore, according to veteran Cahokia coach Leroy Millsap, it is not swollen.
Millsap said on Monday afternoon that Ward was in school in Monday and he is having no trouble walking.
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Ward will be able to compete at the Class 2A Carterville Sectional on May 20, Millsap said.
“It scared him. It sacred us all,” Millsap said. “The left knee cap popped out and it was popped back in. Ja’Mari said his knee is sore, but he is able to bend it and straighten it out and there is also no swelling at all.
“Everything looks good.”
Ward, who set the National Federation of State High School Association’s National Record of 53 feet, 7 1/2 inches in the triple jump nine days ago at the St. Clair County Meet, suffered the injury on his first attempt in the triple jump at Collinsville track meet.
Ward’s knee appeared to buckle as he took off and he was in agony after landing at the very end of the triple jump pit. Seeing him hurt drew a crowd quickly.
Coaches, medical personnel and teammates rushed to Ward’s side as a hushed crowd looked on.
After being attended to for several minutes, Ward unsuccessfully attempted to walk. He was then carried to another part of the stadium for further medical attention. Ward’s distance on the jump was 47 feet, 3 inches, which won the competition.
Millsap said Ward will not jump this week but will do light workouts, consisting of stretching and exercising. Ward will not compete at the annual South Seven Conference Meet on Thursday in Marion, but he is expected to compete at the Class 2A Carterville Sectional.
The Comanches are gunning for their sixth straight Class 2A state championship. The Boys State Track and Field Championship is set for May 26-28 at O’Brien Stadium in Charleston.
A University of Missouri recruit, Ward is a two-time state champion in both the long jump and triple jump.