Inside the CFL: Als center Sean Jamieson enjoys playing a child’s game

Jamieson, who majored in kinesiology at university, says he’s not worried about life after football, despite the punishment he endures on the pitch.


Sean Jamieson is not the first professional football player, and he certainly won’t be the last, to have to practice and play with braces on both knees after sustaining three serious injuries, the first dating back to his days at Western University. Ontario. .

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But having specialized in kinesiology, the scientific study of human body movement, while in college, the Alouette Veterans Center has a better understanding of what happens after injury and during rehabilitation than most.

“I don’t go to a therapist and tell them what’s wrong with me,” Jamieson said during an interview this week at the Olympic Stadium. “I let them do their job. But I understand, I talk to them and I understand their thought process: what happens inside the knee.

He has to prepare for practices 10 minutes early, lacing up the braces securely, but they don’t restrict his movement on the field. Technology has evolved, making gear less intrusive, but Velcro still irritates the skin, Jamieson admitted.

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While the CFL game is played at a breakneck pace and players’ bodies take a lot of punishment, Jamieson says he doesn’t worry about the quality of his afterlife.

“I’m not thinking about trying to save my body for 30 years,” the 28-year-old Winnipeg native said. “Obviously I want to be able to walk when I am 50 years old. I definitely don’t want to be in a wheelchair at a young age, unable to walk or need a cane. Let’s hope it doesn’t change the quality of life in the future.”

Jamieson missed three games this season with a medial collateral ligament injury in his right knee. Last season he suffered a fracture in the upper part of his left knee and tore the meniscus in his right knee when he was in college. However, neither injury ended his season. Jamieson says such risks go with the territory and he wouldn’t change a thing.

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“To be able to go out and play, even with two knee pads, I will try to play until they tell me I can’t. Money is not the most important thing; it’s not important. It’s building relationships and playing the game you love. I don’t think many guys would play if they didn’t like the game. I played a child’s game for as long as I could. That is special and no one can take it away from you.

Jamieson was a good student, if somewhat disruptive in class, had healthy grades, and was a keen athlete. He loved chemistry and contemplated becoming a pharmacist. He was also the starting center on his high school basketball team. Despite being heavily recruited by the University of Manitoba to play football, following the advice of a coach who regretted never leaving Winnipeg, he decided to step out of his comfort zone and made the trip to London, Ontario, to play for the Mustangs.

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A first-team Canadian in 2014 and 2015, also in 2016 he became the first Western player in 20 years to win the JP Metras Trophy, awarded annually to the best lineman in Ontario. He received another scholastic award for making the greatest contribution to intercollegiate athletics during his time at Western.

The 6-foot-7, 322-pound Jamieson was selected by the Als in the third round (20th overall) in 2016, then spent nine weeks on the practice roster before returning to school for his final year of eligibility. He made his Montreal debut in August 2017, playing guard before moving to center at the start of last season.

The Als were terrible during their first two seasons, winning a combined eight games, before turning their fortunes around in 2019, making the playoffs for the first time in four years. Montreal qualified for the postseason again last season, but Jamieson missed the playoff loss to Hamilton with injury. The Als have struggled again this season and sit at 2-6 following Thursday’s loss to Winnipeg.

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“I’d be lying if I said this season has been easy or easy,” Jamieson said. “It is difficult to say that everything is going well. We have to do everything right, and we’re running out of time to do it.

“The mentality of every week and year is to win a championship. There are many moving parts that we have no control over and it is not our job to question or control. Our job is to go out and produce. We haven’t necessarily achieved that as much as we would like this year.”

Jamieson has had a taste of free agency, but remains loyal to the organization that drafted him and says he wants to be in Montreal when the organization emerges from the abyss. In the meantime, he is completing his master’s degree in kinesiology and would eventually like to go to teacher’s college and become a coach. Jamieson remembers the many coaches who marked his life and wants to return the favor.

“See the potential in them when they don’t know it exists,” he explained. “When you’re a teenager, things that are so small seem to be the end of the world.”

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