Ekanayake Working Through Adversity Prior to ND Arrival

June 10, 2017
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Notre Dame’s newest members of the team start their college experience in less than a week as the freshmen move-in on June 17th. Cameron Ekanayake accepted a preferred walk-on spot, and the Edwardsburg (Mich.) native is trying to enjoy his last few days of being a senior.

“It’s crazy, but it hasn’t set in, Ekanayake told Irish Sports Daily. “I don’t think it’s going to set in until I am walking on campus the first day. I am nervous and excited, but it’s all good.

“High school isn’t even over for me yet. My graduation is this Sunday and to think I am going to start classes, practicing, and living on campus in six days after graduation is pretty mind boggling. I can’t tell you how excited I am.”

While Ekanayake has just about a 15-minute drive to campus and it doesn’t change the excitement of starting college.

“I graduate June 11th, and we move-in June 17th, so it’s a six-day summer break,” laughed Ekanayake. “You can look at it as I don’t get a summer break, but I am just excited to get in with the guys and the team.”

Despite the short break, the 6-foot-2, 200-pounder is more than grateful to get an early start on classes and football, but most importantly a chance to ramp up his rehab after suffering a broken leg in the winter.  

“I can make improvements on my own, but I will make the biggest strides with the team and trainers,” explained Ekanayake. “I might as well get acclimated to it now. I have put pressure on myself for all these years, so why take a long break now.

“I have met with Dr. (Brian) Ratigan, and he did my surgery. Everything went extremely well. Regarding recovery, they didn’t see any lingering injury and a full recovery. I got fully cleared, which means there are no restrictions, but there is still extensive therapy and what not.”

Ekanayake isn’t at 100 percent just yet, but it’s more about catching up and continuing his rehab versus healing.  

“I shouldn’t be hindered at all,” he stated. “When I move in, I am not going to be where I want to be physically because I haven’t been able to go full out training like I would have hoped. Dr. Ratigan has told me it’s a good opportunity to develop my legs and get me up to speed when I get in around the trainers.”

Ekanayake’s road to getting his broken leg ‘fixed’ might not be what most coaches want to hear, but you can’t deny the toughness of the former Edwardsburg star.

“I had fractured my leg during the regional championship in November playing football,” recalled Ekanayake. “I went on to play the next semi-State game with the injury, and it probably didn’t help it. I continued to play basketball and taped it up.

“One game, someone went into me, and it just snapped. It was pretty scary when it happened. It was all bone and no ligaments.”

As the days tick down to his college career, Ekanayake has been in contact with his future roommate, JD Carney, and has thought of running out of the tunnel against Temple many times.

“I think about it every day,” said Ekanayake. “It’s surreal still. I am going about my daily life, but it’s always in the back of my mind. It hasn’t set in that I am going to be playing football for Notre Dame.

“Getting to run out of the tunnel in front of 80,000 people is so surreal. It’s motivating and gets me amped up and ready to work."


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