Eye on the Y: Gunner Romney finds way to play through knee injury all season for BYU football

Romney has hurt the MCL in his knee twice this season, but has pushed through to help the Cougars win games.

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Gunner Romney celebrates after scoring a touchdown as the Cougars play the Utah Utes in football, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021 in Provo.

The late, great Kobe Bryant had a saying whenever he was asked why he so routinely played through injuries that would sideline most NBA players.

“If I can walk, I can play.”

Add BYU wide receiver Gunner Romney to the list of players who have that mentality.

Romney injured his knee early in the team’s opening game of the season against Arizona. He did so again later in the year against Washington State and missed the next two games before returning in the win over Georgia Southern.

Both times he has hurt his knee, it’s been the MCL, a situation Romney called “unfortunate.” But he found a solution early on that has allowed him to be healthy enough to play almost every week.

Romney heard it worked wonders for an injured MCL to exercise on the leg press machine. So he has been working out on that machine two to three times per day since he first injured himself against Arizona.

“It’s crazy how fast I recover,” Romney said. “At the beginning of the week, I’m not even really walking. I’m on crutches. And then by the end of the week after doing that for four days straight, I’m sprinting. So it has to work somehow.”

Romney has still played nine of the 11 games this season and has 539 receiving yards and three touchdowns on 31 catches.

“I’ve been bracing it the entire year,” Romney said of his knee. “Even before that last injury, I had a brace underneath. That’s why I wore those tights every single game — to cover it up.”

Romney said what motivates him to play through the injury is the desire to help his Cougars teammates win.

“I just want to get on the field and help my teammates out,” Romney said. “If I’m good enough to play, there’s no excuse to not get my body ready to do that.”

Quick Hits

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Other Voices

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• A look back at the last time BYU played Trojans at L.A. Coliseum, via Deseret News.

• BYU football’s updated path to an NY6 Bowl, via Sports Illustrated’s Cougs Daily.