Heel Tough Blog: Austin Proehl Return Should Be an Inspiration

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When Austin Proehl laid out for a 47 yard receptions against Duke, many fans simply saw a great catch that help get the momentum going offensively for a Heels team looking for a crucial win. However, for Proehl the play meant something much different. Proehl landed hard on his right shoulder and would head to the locker room to get evaluated. When he returned, he did so with a sling on his right arm. Proehl suffered the same injury that Mack Hollins had suffered the year before, breaking his collarbone. Proehl would have surgery just a few days after, but just like Hollins, he was expected to be out for the rest of the season.

Proehl would take that prognosis without a fight, though.Instead, Proehl made it a goal to return and finish his senior season. Proehl started practice again during the bye week and was amazingly able to work himself in a position to be able to play on Senior Day.

Prior to his injury, Proehl was the team’s most dynamic receiver, catching 16 passes for 270 yards and a touchdown in just three full games. This comes after his breakout season a year ago, where he caught 43 passes for 597 yards and three touchdowns.

Austin isn’t the only Proehl who has had to battle with injuries. Brother Blake suffered a torn ACL in preseason camp, ending his freshman campaign before it could even get started. The day after his surgery, though, Austin tweeted out a picture of Blake working with his dad Ricky working out. The Proehl brothers are not one’s to let a setback affect them.

Austin’s return on Saturday was more than just taking one snap, though. Proehl played a bulk of the snaps on Saturday and hauled in three passes for 52 yards. Overall it was a pretty good return.

Proehl will have one last game in a Tar Heel uniform as he will travel to NC State one last time. Proehl will look to close out the final game of his Carolina career with a strong performance against the rival Wolfpack