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UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton discusses severe injury, road to recovery

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Central Florida quarterback McKenzie Milton celebrates after an NCAA college football game against Navy, Nov. 10, 2018, in in Orlando, Fla.

ORLANDO, Fla. >> UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton spoke extensively about a devastating knee injury he suffered in November and his road to recovery, describing the play that nearly forced the amputation of his right leg as shocking.

“It was all kind of surreal at that moment. When something like that happens, you don’t know how to react,” Milton said during an interview on Real Radio 104.1 this morning, granting his first interview since the injury.

The UCF quarterback made two radio appearances today to help promote the Better Man Event, a faith-based gathering at CFE Arena on April 13. Throughout his interviews, Milton credited his faith with helping him recover.

“It wasn’t excruciating pain. It was like a shock. That kind of moment feels like a dream almost,” he said.

Milton went down with the injury during the first half of the Knights’ regular-season finale against USF on Nov. 23 in Tampa. He was carted off the field and taken to Tampa General Hospital, which features one of the best trauma units in the country. There doctor’s performed several surgeries, including one to repair nerve damage in his right leg.

“It was tough, but at the same time, 50 percent of people that suffer my injury — I had a knee dislocation and a popliteal artery — have to have their leg amputated,” Milton explained.

Amazingly, despite tearing two ligaments in his knee, both meniscuses were intact.

“I’m already beating the odds by the grace of God. When you have a knee dislocation, you tear everything,” Milton said. “It was miracle after miracle.”

After a handful of surgeries, including having his right kneecap rebuilt, Milton has been involved in the arduous process of rehabbing the leg.

“For me right now, I’m just checking off like little accomplishments at a time,” Milton told Marc Daniels on FM-96.9.

He said he’s making steady progress and has a big milestone on the horizon.

“On Friday, I’ll be able to start weight bearing on my legs. That’s a little check. When I first got hurt, I had to take blood thinners and take shots in my stomach every day. So when I had to stop doing those, that was a little check. In two months, I’ll be able to walk in my brace, so that’s a little check,” Milton said. “For me, I’ve always looked at small victories like those will add up inch by inch and then it’ll be something big when it comes into fruition.”

Throughout it all, he’s kept involved with the football program, sitting in on meetings and the team’s first spring practice Monday.

Despite not being able to participate, Milton said he still felt excited about the start of spring practice.

“Whenever spring ball or fall camp is coming up, I always lose sleep and it was the exact same. I felt like I was going to be practicing the next day,” he said. “I’m just excited to see those guys compete.”

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