C ollege athletics can be physically demanding and mentally draining. When an athlete gets injured, it can be the result of the toll sports take on a body. Although injuries can threaten to end an athlete’s career, they can also be overcome, and University of Utah tennis player Egbert Weverink is an example of an athlete who has battled through such a challenge. He sustained a shoulder injury before becoming a Ute, and he had to do everything possible to get back to playing the sport he loves.
Weverink, who has been playing tennis since he was 7 years old, is a senior at the University of Utah. Since transferring from Mississippi State in 2015, Weverink has made quite an impact on the tennis program, helping lead the team to its best records since the late ‘80s. Upon coming to the U, Weverink was hopeful he could help the Utes become more competitive in the Pac-12.
“I knew that Utah had not had much of an impact in the Pac-12,” Weverink said. “And I wanted to be one of those guys to help to change that.”
Head coach Roeland Brateanu, who speaks highly of Weverink, is pleased with Weverink’s work ethic and what he has brought to the program.
“[Weverink] works very hard to gain confidence and be a great player and get back to where he was before he arrived at the U,” Brateanu said.
Weverink chased down Utah after taking a year off of tennis to recover from a potentially career-ending injury that he suffered the summer before his freshman year at a tournament in India.
With two torn tendons and a blocked nerve in his shoulder, Weverink was told that there was an extremely low chance he would ever be able to play at such a competitive level again. Giving up and caving in, however, wasn’t an option for Weverink. He “just didn’t know anything else but to keep going.”
Transferring to a new school to compete, fresh off of an injury, can be a daunting task, but trainers at both Mississippi State and the U helped ease his transition.
Although the recovery process has been a long and winding road, Weverink is looking ahead. He anticipates a prosperous senior year with the Utes. Seconding that is Brateanu, who said Weverink is a player who has yet to reach his full potential with the team, but he added that he certainly could do so this season.
Missing out on a lot of playing time hasn’t lessened the love and respect Weverink has for the game. The captain still takes his responsibilities as a tennis player seriously as he tries his best to act as a role model for the other players on the team, on and off the court.
Not only is he grateful to be a part of a talented program, but he is confident his team will make it to NCAA playoffs this year. Weverink is not the only one who believes that this team is special. Brateanu added that the Utes have the players and the experience they need in order to have their best season in 30 years.