HAMDEN, Conn. (BVM) — It’s been quite the journey for former Quinnipiac men’s basketball player Travis Atson. Facing numerous obstacles in his career Atson’s basketball career up to this point has been a great achievement.
Playing basketball for five different teams in his seven-year career in the United States and Austria, one would think Atson would have enough adversity to overcome. But Atson would have to conquer a lot more as he would experience two car accidents and two torn ACL’s.
Atson’s first ACL tear happened before he even stepped foot on a college basketball floor. He tore his ACL in eighth grade at the age of 14. This presumably kept him out of his entire freshman year in high school.
The first devastating ACL injury that Atson experienced at a young age was just a glimpse of the adversity Atson endured in his career. Atson vividly remembers the moment he tore his ACL for the first time in his young career.
“The first ACL that I tore I was playing at nationals down in Florida,” Atson said. “Me and my teammates were on a roll in the sweet 16 when the injury happened. I remember I was driving baseline for a layup, my left leg popped out and popped back in.”
Atson’s road to recovery from the first ACL tear was grueling, as he had to rehab three times a week during his freshman year of high school. However, the first injury was a wakeup call for him. He didn’t look back after the first injury occurred, and continued to persevere in his basketball career.
Following his freshman year in high school where he sat out due to the torn ACL, Atson thrived on the basketball court injury-free in his last three years on the varsity team in high school. He parlayed that success into accepting an offer to play basketball at Tulsa University.
In 22 games for the Golden Hurricane men’s basketball team, Atson averaged 1.6 points and 1.0 rebounds. The native New Yorker only started 3 games with the Hurricanes, prompting him to transfer to Quinnipiac University after playing just one season with Tulsa.
In 2017-18, Atson took a redshirt season as a freshman at Quinnipiac due to NCAA transfer rules. This was supposed to just be a year in which Atson could just work on his craft and become a better basketball player. Until tragedy struck again.
The worst possible outcome became a reality again, as Atson suffered another torn ACL in his right knee that sidelined him 6-8 months. The injury occurred in practice, in a season where Atson wasn’t playing as a redshirt freshman.
Despite suffering a catastrophic knee injury for the second time, the former Bobcat was adamant that he was going to come back stronger than ever.
“The second time I tore my ACL, it was pretty tough,” Atson said. “I kept trying to tell myself that it wasn’t my ACL because I’ve been through this process before. But there was no real doubt in my mind that I was going to come back, because I know I did it in the past, and I knew I was capable of doing it again.”
Atson knew he was going to overcome the second ACL tear, but he acknowledged that the second ACL tear forced him to adjust and modify his entire game.
“My whole life I was a slasher who tried to get to the basket, be quicker than everybody and dunk on people,” Atson said. “Now, I’m a lot slower, and just don’t have the same quickness as I once had. So, now I’ve become more of a knockdown shooter.”
Coming off his second torn ACL, Atson made his debut with the Bobcats in 2018-19 as a redshirt sophomore. In a limited role off the bench, the swingman averaged 5.3 points and 3.4 rebounds in 18 minutes.
Although he only played in a limited capacity a year after being removed from the ACL injury with the Bobcats, the big silver lining was that Atson stayed healthy throughout the year. He was also just starting to get his legs under himself in his first full season with the Bobcats.
Nonetheless, after just one season with the Bobcats, the 6-foot-5 wing transferred to St. Francis Brooklyn College as a graduate student to play basketball for the Terriers. While this was supposed to be another fresh start with another program, adversity came to fruition again for Atson.
Just before his first season at St. Francis Brooklyn, Atson got into a car accident with his friend. This was Atson’s second car accident he’s encountered in his life. In this accident, he didn’t think he suffered any type of injury at first, but his ankle acted up weeks later.
“When I went through this accident, I wasn’t driving so I was like I’m fine,” Atson said. “Then two weeks later, I twisted my ankle. Like there was a weird popping in my ankle and I ended up fracturing my ankle.”
Due to the fractured ankle, Atson was forced to sit out his first year with St. Francis Brooklyn in 2019-20. After yet another obstacle of getting hurt, Atson was finally ready to play for his hometown team in 2020-21.
In his first healthy season for the Terriers in 2020-21, the Brooklyn native dominated in his hometown like a champion. The versatile guard/forward averaged 14.8 points, 2.0 assists and 6.7 rebounds in 30 minutes per game.
Flourishing for your hometown as a player and overcoming a multitude of injuries feels like a dream come true for anybody. But for Atson, it got even better after his last season for St. Francis Brooklyn.
Atson is currently playing professional basketball in Austria for a team called the Unger Steel Gunners. Not only is he thriving overseas, but he is defying the odds as a player who went through the ultimate amount of adversity anybody can imagine.
Overcoming any sort of adversity can be tough for a person or an athlete. For Atson he isn’t looking back. He doesn’t hold any regrets, and is looking to make the most out of his current situation.
“You can’t change the past, so I just try to make the best out of my current situation,” Atson said. I am a professional basketball player now, so even after all those injuries, I can say it all worked out in the end.”