After a questionable return to the 2015 NFL season, Miami Dolphin Offensive Tackle, Branden Albert, is headed to Hawaii and the 2016 Pro Bowl. Following a devastating rupture of the ACL and MCL in his right knee in November of 2014, the hopes of his return to football were dismal. Several painful surgeries repaired the damage but the road back to the level of play required for an NFL player was a long one. —
“Branden is an amazing athlete and a very determined man,” said his trainer, Manning Sumner, owner and founder of Legacy Fit, Miami, Florida's number one boot camp gym. “Sheer determination drove him to get back into game shape. He worked as hard as I've ever seen anyone work to get himself back on the field.”
While the Miami Dolphin coaching staff was hesitant to play Albert in the 2015 pre-season, and anticipated a regular season game three start, Albert more than showed his ability to play at the level prior to the injury. He missed no regular season time, starting game one and ending the season ranked the number eight tackle in the league.
"When you get there and you're at the top of your game, and something like this [injury] happens, it's like, 'Damn, I was at the top of my game, doing good. The team was doing good,'" Albert told Kevin Patra of Around the NFL on April 12. "My thing is proving my worth. I never wanted to come down here [Miami] and have somebody say, 'Well, he shut it down when he got paid.' That's not what I'm about. I want to keep winning, keep making Pro Bowls, All-Pros, and keep improving."
Albert's appearance at the 2016 Pro Bowl, despite a nearly career ending injury just over one year ago, speaks volumes about his dedication to again become an All Pro NFL player.
“He plays with great intensity on the field,” Sumner explained. “His rehabilitation from the knee injury was equally intense. He's a top athlete and when he is 100%, as he proved this season, he is one of the best tackles in the NFL.”
As a personal and professional athlete trainer, Sumner has seen more than Albert return to professional sports after an injury that would sideline most athletes for life. Golden State Warrior Guard, Shaun Livingston, sought out Sumner following a devastating leg injury that left doctors saying Livingston might never walk again. With the guidance of Sumner, Livingston not only returned to again play in the NBA but to be a key player on the 2015 NBA National Championship team.
“Branden and Shaun are both great success stories for me,” a humble Sumner stated. “But it's their hearts that really makes them the athletes that they are. Both of them have got the heart of a lion, determined and focused. My role as trainer is simple: to guide them through the proper exercise program for strengthening without risking further injury.”
Not only has Sumner got personal ties to the 2016 Pro Bowl, but his clientele includes many NFL players participating in the playoffs this season, including Super Bowl hopeful Defensive End, Charles Johnson, of the highly favored Carolina Panthers.
“I can't tell you how proud I am of Brandon for being named to the Pro Bowl after all he's been through,” Sumner, a former Auburn linebacker and running back, explained. “But I have to admit, to have one of my guys in the Super Bowl? Well, that's just the cherry on top!”
For more information on Legacy Fit Miami and to sign up for a FREE first boot camp class, visit: www.legacyfit.com/miamifl
To learn more about the 2016 NFL Pro Bowl, go to: www.probowl.com
**JD Arbuckle is a freelance journalist specializing in consumer education on a variety of topics including professional sports, physical fitness, health and nutrition.
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