Abdoul Kouyate versus The World

The saying, “If it’s not one thing, it’s another,” usually comes from someone who has experienced a lot in life. In the past two years, Abdoul Kouyate has experienced a lot.

Kouyate, the 6’3, 250-pound defensive end from Colgate University, is coming back from a season ending injury. However, he is not coming back to a season; instead, he is coming back to the cancellation of a season.

“To miss a season physically is possible… but to miss a season mentally is unacceptable.”

– Abdoul Kouyate

In times like this, the way you respond to adversity can make or break you. Kouyate understands that it is not only what he does physically that will help him get back on the field but what he does mentally. Both will help him in the long run.

He affirms, “Missing last season due to injury and our season being canceled this season allows me to make sure I’m back at 100% and become a better overall athlete. Not only physically but mentally. When I first got injured, I was really focused on the day-to-day aspects of rehab. I tried to make sure I made improvements everyday no matter how minor they were. Which allowed me to compete even though I couldn’t be on the field with my teammates. Besides physically missing season and the cancellation of our 2020 football season, I grew mentally as a football player by watching the game from a different perspective and as a leader. I believe building more leadership qualities was also a part of my recovery. As of now, we aren’t having a season, and there’s a lot of uncertainty in the world during these challenging times. In times of uncertainty, leadership is very important because a leader is looked to for guidance on and off the field. I believe being sidelined last season has helped grow in that way.”

Kouyate’s approach in these times is very optimistic. To be sidelined due to injury, make a full recovery for the upcoming season, then come back to the cancellation of a season is not ideal. However, Kouyate is looking forward to getting back on the field with his teammates and competing to win a conference championship.

Although the season may be cancelled, the school year is not. In going to a prestigious institution such as Colgate University, Kouyate is expected to balance a rigorous course schedule while also devoting time and efforts to football. Kouyate explains balancing both football and academics amidst a global pandemic can be challenging, but there are ways one can excel. He explains, “Balancing academics and football at a school like Colgate can be very challenging without a global pandemic. Still, I believe these past few months have taught everyone to take a step back and actually evaluate situations in our day-to-day lives, instead of getting stressed or overwhelmed. I make sure I don’t get overwhelmed by communicating with professors, coaches, and training staff. While maintaining a consistent routine with set schedules for my day to day life.”

To ensure everyone’s safety, Colgate has taken extraordinary measures to stop any spread of COVID-19 from social distancing in classrooms, no social gatherings, and wearing and providing students with masks. The school plans to keep the students and faculty safe.

“ Every student on campus has taken at least three COVID-19 tests. Students were sent test kits before arriving on campus, and two tests were administered during our two-week quarantine. Since the conclusion of the two-week quarantine, students will be randomly tested until the end of the semester. The university has also made sure we follow all of New York State COVID-19 guidelines.”

To prepare for a season you absolutely have no knowledge of is all one can do. Kouyate plans on becoming a better pass rusher, staying healthy, and being a leader. For more on Kouyate, follow him on Twitter @Akouyate10.

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