February 13, 2023

Fatherhood helps Reggie White Jr. see the positives after serious knee injury

WHITE Jr., REGGIE #84 of the Montreal Alouettes

Alouettes receiver Reggie White Jr. experienced some incredible highs and some difficult lows in 2022. There were plenty of things to look forward too. He and his girlfriend Destiny Singh were expecting their first child late in the year, and he was putting together a career-season in a contract year. Unfortunately for White Jr., a serious knee injury put an end to his season, but the birth of Reginald White III helped cushion the blow.

On Oct. 10, during the Thanksgiving Day game against the Ottawa Redblacks, White was pushed out of bounds by defensive back Damon Webb. He went crashing into the electronic signage at Molson Stadium, and he hyper-extended his knee in the process. He suffered a torn ACL, LCL and PCL in his right knee. This was the first time that he needed surgery because of a football injury, and the first time that he was going to miss games.

“Once I fell, I knew something was wrong with my knee,” White Jr. said from his home in Baltimore on Monday. “(The doctors) asked me if it hurt, but it just felt numb. I tried to walk it off. I actually walked to the training room. The doctor looked at it and I knew it wasn’t good.”

White Jr. was injured on a Monday afternoon, and by Friday, he was already back home in Baltimore. The surgery, which was a success, was performed by Baltimore Ravens team surgeon Dr. Leigh Curl. The recovery is expected to be anywhere between nine and 12 months, which means that the Als receiver is hoping to be back in the lineup sometime between late September and October.

“2022 was going just how I planned it,” he said.

“I got hurt and I feel like everything just fell apart. But everything happens for a reason, you know? My son was born two weeks after I got hurt, so I was able to go home and see the birth of my child. I had to look at things on the bright side. I got one of the most important things that I love taken away from me for the first time ever, but at the same time I got this new blessing.”

Even though he missed the final two games of the regular season, the 26-year-old still finished second on the team in receptions (53) and receiving yards (722).

The organization obviously feels strongly about White Jr.’s upside and his ability to bounce back from an injury of this magnitude, or they wouldn’t have extended him before the start of free agency.

There’s no doubt that he’s putting in the work necessary to return to full health. White Jr. works overnight as a caretaker for the elderly. He begins working at midnight and finishes his shift at 8 in the morning. He returns home to spend some time with his young family, and then he heads to rehab to strengthen his knee.

“I told them not to take it easy on me (laughs),” White Jr. said of his rehab sessions. “They asked me if I wanted a fan in there while I was working out, and I said no because I need to sweat. Rehab has been challenging, but it’s been fun.

“Each week, we’re going to get better. Some weeks it isn’t going to go how you think it’s going to go, but other days I feel like I can get back on the field.”

He plans to be in Montreal for the start of training camp so that he can learn head coach Jason Maas’ playbook.

Becoming a father has helped put everything in perspective for White Jr. He admits that parenthood hasn’t always been easy, but it’s helped transform him as a person.

“I have never been tested like this in my life,” he said while his son was sleeping in his arms. “I always get on my friends who are already parents because they never told me that babies cry all night for the first three months (laughs). I’m changing diapers, he’s spitting up and pooping. It’s another job. I have to make sure I feed him on time and my girlfriend calls me to make sure I’m feeding him.

“I still can’t believe I’m a dad. Every day I look at him and say: ‘wow, this is really my son’. I’m a dad out here! It’s fun coming home and seeing him when I get home from work or rehab. He starts smiling and giggling a little bit. It’s always fun coming home and seeing him. He brightens up my day.”