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Friday, December 6, 2019

Football

UH tackle leader Stuard played 2019 injured; surgery set for Monday


Junior safety Grant Stuard led the Cougars in total tackles with 97 in 2019. | Jhair Romero/The Cougar

Junior safety Grant Stuard led the Cougars in total tackles with 97 in 2019. | Jhair Romero/The Cougar

Junior safety Grant Stuard in 2019 found a full-time home in Houston’s defense as a nickel linebacker, also known as a “money backer.” He flourished in the role, leading the Cougars in total tackles (97) and tackles for loss (9.5) by seasons end.

He could have played better.

Following UH’s 56-41 loss to Navy, Stuard said he played through a sports hernia all season long.

“I’ve endured a sports hernia. I’m getting surgery on Monday for it,” said Stuard post-game. “I’ve been hurt. I’ve endured that through the entirety of the season.”

Stuard noted that he received injections for the ailment all year long, doing so “five or six” times. He suffered the injury during spring football.

For Stuard, there was never a thought about missing football to rest up, despite the pain hindering him in coverage, as he alluded to.

“It couldn’t hurt it any worse, so it was really just fighting through the physical pain,” Stuard said. “But just fighting through that pain every step was more of a mental thing.”

Why did Stuard play through injury? The teammates he shares his life, the locker room and the gridiron with.

“My team, my brothers,” said Stuard in response to why he played through the pain. “I’ve been here a little bit of time… I didn’t want to let them down because I had an injury. If there was any way that I could play through it this year, it’s what I did.”

Stuard finished his injury-hampered 2019 campaign with another standout performance. He tallied a team-leading 10 total tackles and a pass deflection in a 56-41 loss to Navy.

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