STILLWATER — Artrell Woods isn't a superstitious guy, but when the calendar turned to June 13 — Friday the 13th — the Oklahoma State wide receiver took notice.
It was a year ago this weekend — Friday, July 13, 2007 — that a weightlifting accident left Woods with a cracked vertebra, possibly unable to walk again. So when Friday the 13th came around last month, Woods was watching his step in the OSU weight room.
"I was a little extra-careful in my workout that day,” Woods said with a soft chuckle.
But that's what is so amazing about Woods' story. That extra caution was dictated by what the calendar said, not what his body could or could not handle.
In Woods' mind, there are no lingering physical effects from the injury. And those who have closely monitored his progress in returning from the injury say he is virtually 100 percent recovered.
The sophomore from Bryan, Texas, was medically cleared for regular workouts in January. And last month, he received the all-clear for full football contact.
Woods' condition has improved so much so fast that the fact that he is back in the weight room isn't even a surprise to OSU players and staff anymore. Unless they stop to think about where he was a year ago.
"The first few days after the accident, my goal was for him to walk again, to just have a normal life,” said OSU head athletic trainer Rob Hunt. "Football wasn't even an issue. Artie and I never talked about him playing football again.
"Then he was cleared for non-contact drills in the spring. He sent me a text message asking what time he needed to be there to get his ankles taped. I thought, ‘My gosh, I'm going to get to tape Artrell again.' That's something I didn't think I'd ever do.”
Woods, however, never questioned his return to football.
"I actually felt like I was gonna be able to come back to football all along,” Woods said. "Once I could feel my legs again, I felt like I'd come back.