Buchanan Sports – Athlete Spotlight

Levi Zelmer, Buchanan High School Senior 2021, Photo provided by Levi Zelmer

Mr. Comeback – Athlete Levi Zelmer

by Nik Sanchez

For many this year it was a tough year for sports. Many activities and games cancelled, seasons shortened but for one it was indeed a nightmare being lived first hand. Levi Zelmer the younger of two older siblings is a tri-sport athlete playing Football, Basketball and Baseball.

A senior at Buchanan High School looks toward the future now that he’s fully healed. After suffering a horrific injury to his leg (tearing his ACL in three different places) at the beginning of his senior year many doubts and questions started to appear. Would he be able to play football again? Would he be able to play any sport again and continue his dream? After being in a cast, to a boot, to walking crutches, Levi is grateful to be back playing the sports he loves and being around teammates.

Levi recalls having a lot of support from his family, the town, and high school on this difficult road to recovery. He recalls driving to Chicago during Covid-19, one of the more difficult things he’s endured during this troubling time. Following strict guidelines, especially being in Chicago tested his fortitude and family character.

One place he wants to thank is Red Bud Fitness, a local health club in Buchanan that has tools to help rehabilitate the body and get the mind revitalized. Levi recalls the Dr. telling him it would take a year or more to recover from an injury like this. He recovered in 4 months, which he greatly thanks everyone for helping him on this tough road. He appreciates all the work they did for him and how they continued to push him through all his exercises to rehabilitate his leg. “They knew what I wanted and where I wanted to go and grow.” He said that they pushed him through many tough days.

“The journey is still not over,” he adds, and I could agree with him. It takes many years to fully recover from an injury like Levi suffered. Some heal up but never play again due to the high risk of re-injuring it again, or even worse, separation of the limb or being confined to a wheelchair.

April 23 2021 Senior Levi Zelmer signs Letter of Intent with Mount Saint Joseph University, Photo from Buchanan Athletics Facebook

After this senior year is completed, he plans to continue his education at Mount Saint Joseph University in Cincinnati, Ohio to study criminal justice. Levi hopes one day to become a law enforcement agent and serve and protect his community, giving back to a town that has given so much to him already. He plans on pursuing his football dream by joining their squad as a safety instead of quarterback, which is very difficult to switch from offence to defense. From having the ball in your hands to try and steal the ball is quite the difference. Levi says, “he welcomes all challenges, that’s why I train.” He plans on joining basketball also once he’s fully regimented into the Mount Saint Joseph University system to continue his athletic dream.

While Levi is almost done with high school he has massed a few great accomplishments athletically. All Conference Honorable Mention for Football and All Work Award for Basketball. He also broke two school records in Football with 365 passing yards and 5 passing TD’s in a single game. A night he would never forget, he adds. He also holds a 3.2 GPA currently and plans on raising it up more. I can tell he takes his education seriously and looks at it as another opponent he needs to defeat or train harder to achieve his goal.

Some of his likes are the Green Bay Packers and Lonzo Ball (NBA player), he likes to mimic his play to Lonzo’s style. “Facilitate the ball and find scoring lanes and get the W,” he adds. After having a great conversation with Levi about current sports stories, who got drafted and what not, I can tell he is a great young man who has the world ahead of him, and hope I can have a sports talk with him again soon. I am also very impressed on how he carries himself and the fact that he made a full recovery and continues to play the sports he loves.

From this BHS senior, he leaves one message for all of Buchanan: “Thank you for making me a better person, for pushing me to be the best I can be. Everyone came together this year in this difficult time and I would not want a better community to live in.”           

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