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John's Journal: Back On The Court Following Serious Football Injury

Jackson County Central’s Voss Returns After Being Hurt In State Semifinals

Posted: Monday, January 29, 2024 - 5:46 PM


Jackson County Central sophomore Roman Voss.


To see Roman Voss running up and down a basketball court is quite a sight right now. For those who remember where the Jackson County Central sophomore was on Nov. 17, it might seem quite incredible.

Voss suffered a serious football injury, was rolled off the field at U.S. Bank Stadium on a stretcher and taken by ambulance to Hennepin County Medical Center. He suffered head and shoulder injuries which, thankfully, could have been much worse.

On a clean play in the third quarter of a 38-23 state semifinal loss to Barnesville, Roman was injured while being tackled. His helmet bounced off the turf and he was unconscious briefly.

“I got knocked out and they said I was out for two and a half minutes,” the 16-year-old said before a basketball game in Waseca on Friday night. “It happened so fast. Right before the play, right before the snap, I remember that. And then I remember people talking to me. And then I remember being in the ambulance and I just remember kind of crying. It all went by pretty fast.”

Thankfully, maybe even remarkably, Roman was released from the hospital later that day. His father, Rod Voss, posted a photo of Roman on Twitter; he was sitting on a gurney, wearing hospital wristbands, a sweatshirt and his football pants. Rod wrote, “Thanks for the calls texts and prayers. Roman just got released and is doing good.”

Roman helped the Huskies to 12 consecutive wins last fall before losing to Barnesville. Now he’s focused on the basketball season. The Huskies lost to Waseca 68-64, with Voss scoring a game-high 25 points.

Roman missed the first eight games of the basketball season while recuperating from his injuries. His throwing shoulder is not fully healed but it does not have much impact in basketball.

“I can't really throw,” he said. “I can play basketball but that throwing motion is still not 100 percent yet.”

A varsity basketball player since seventh grade and starter since eighth grade, Roman comes from an athletic family. When he recently reached the 1,000-point career basketball scoring milestone, it extended the family total to more than 5,000 points, joining his brother Roman, who played quarterback at South Dakota State until an injury ended his career, and sister Sadie, who plays volleyball at the University of Sioux Falls. Like Roman, they were multi-sport athletes in high school.

“He’s bigger and stronger than Rudy was at this age,” JCC boys basketball coach Alex Hein said of Roman, who is a 6-foot-3 forward/guard.

Roman is averaging more than 20 points per game while shooting nearly 60 percent from the field. He is strong enough to play under the basket and skilled enough to handle the ball on the perimeter.

On Saturday in a home game against Windom, Roman scored a career-high 36 points in a 103-59 win. That gave the Huskies a season record of 11-4 going into a Tuesday home game with Worthington.

Roman grew up watching the bigger kids in Jackson play all sports. Football is his first love and the sport he hopes to pursue in college.

“You’ve got to have 22 guys on the same page all the time,” he said. “I love the work and the grind in the summer with the guys and just being around them and just everything. Friday Night Lights, you know?”

Jackson County Central has appeared in the state football playoffs 10 times since 1997, winning a state title in 2001 and finishing as runner-up in 1997, 1998 and 2015.

Small schools need kids to be involved in multiple sports, and Roman stays busy year-round. On the track and field team, he is a sprinter and relay participant. In the summer, he and his fellow football players work out to prep for the fall season.

He has had previous injuries, but nothing as serious as what happened at U.S. Bank Stadium.

“In the first few practices, we were sort of feeling him out, wondering about his comfortability on the court,” Hein said. “He’s such a physical player. When he first started practicing, there was no hesitation on his part. I was like, ‘We’re going to see how it goes.’

“I probably sat him a little more in the first game than normally, and after that he was ready to go. I keep asking him, ‘Are you good?’ and he’s given me no reason not to play him tons of minutes.”

During the game in Waseca, Roman limped off the court midway through the second half. He had been kicked in the ankle but he was back in action less than a minute later.

It was quite a different scenario from the play that ended his football season.

“He does everything we ask of him,” Hein said. “He is so athletic and explosive and has such a good basketball mind and loves the sport. I think he knows his ceiling is higher in football, with his build and his arm. I think he could be a Mr. Football and Mr. Basketball finalist, he’s that good. He does everything. He’s totally bought in, a one-of-a-kind athlete.”

--MSHSL senior content creator John Millea has been the leading voice of Minnesota high school activities for decades. Follow him on Twitter @MSHSLjohn and listen to "Preps Today with John Millea” wherever you get podcasts. Contact John at [email protected] 

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