FEATURED: Ty Slanina
Sept. 6, 2017
This feature article originally appeared in the TCU Gameday Program, which is free to all fans at each TCU football home game. Each week, GoFrogs.com will publish the features from the previous edition of the TCU Gameday Program.
by Madelon Allen, TCU Athletics Communications Intern
Senior Ty Slanina came to TCU from East Bernard High School with a bio filled with accolades in both academics and athletics. He has battled injuries throughout his career, but the challenges along with perserverance and patience have led to lifestyle changes that will benefit him the rest of his life. He was at TCU to run routes as a wide receiver after playing at both wide receiver and quarterback in high school.
“I knew I wasn’t going to be a quarterback,” said Slanina. “I just knew I wanted to play offense and playing wide receiver gave me that option.”
The transition wasn’t seamless, as Slanina had to learn how to play in a spread offense after coming from a slot-T offense in high school.
“I had to learn how to block, how to run routes and how to catch the ball a lot better,” said Slanina Even though he was a fast learner, he was humbled quickly.
“I remember the first time I ever ran a route for Casey Pachall my freshman year in the summer,” said Slanina. “I ran an out route and on my third step I just fell. I was just like, ‘oh my gosh this is gonna be way harder than I expected’ but after that I learned very quickly. It was a fun experience. There have been challenges throughout but overall it’s been really fun.”
He’s been through challenges since that first year on campus. The latter half of his collegiate career has been frought with injuries.
He started the first four games of his junior year in 2015 only to miss the rest of the season due to injury. He fought through pain the following season but still played in 11 games as a redshirt junior.
“I wouldn’t say my injury affected my game because you can’t go into a game being cautious,” Slanina said. “If you’re worried about getting hurt, you’re most likely going to get hurt.”
He’s no stranger to rehabilitation, though it seems the process was bittersweet.
“It was frustrating,” said Slanina “It’s not hard because you’re making your injury better but you’re also making other muscles in your body better too. You’re getting that extra work in.”
His rehab did spark a major change for the senior however. He changed his diet, how he eats, and became more mentally aware of the things he was putting into his body.
“I used to eat fast food all the time and now I can’t remember the last time I’ve eaten it,” Slanina said. “I feel great; I’m excited. Your body is a temple, you’ve got to treat it right, and I didn’t do that the first couple of years. It’s frustrating that I waited until the last year to make the change, that it finally just clicked, but it’s my last year; I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do to feel great.”
He wants to use his experiences to help the younger players.
“For them, when you come in as a freshman you have four years ahead of you,” said Slanina. “But as a senior, you don’t realize how fast those years go by. I just want to mentor them on that you’ve got to take care of your body. You get 12-13 games a year and that’s it; you’ve got to make the most of it. If you’re hurt and you’re on the sideline, you can’t do anything about it. Taking care of your body, staying healthy, and going out to do what you need to do to get to the next level, because that’s where eventually everybody wants to be.”
Slanina finished his senior season with East Bernard playing in the Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium for the State Championship, then played his first collegiate game there against the LSU Tigers.
“My last game of high school to my first game in college, it was cool so hopefully my last game of the regular season will be there too,” said Slanina. AT&T Stadium, playing for the Big 12 Championship, would be a dream come true. I’m looking forward to having a great year with my teammates. Hopefully we start off strong, finish strong and we can take care of business this year; make some more good memories before it all ends.”
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