“It was a new start for me,” the Cedar Rapids Prairie senior said. “I’m definitely glad I did it.”
Ohrt’s family moved into the Prairie district, thus the transfer in the middle of last school year from Cedar Rapids Jefferson. He loves his new teachers, classmates and coaches.
Not nearly as much as he loves his doctors. Ohrt underwent a medical procedure called an osteotomy last summer and somehow is back playing football for the first time in two years.
As large a young man as you’ll see, Ohrt is 6-foot-11 and 368 pounds. He has had chronic knee issues that made even walking painful.
He wasn’t able to play football at all last season for Jefferson and played only in a few games as a sophomore. To improve his quality of life as much as anything, doctors decided to do an osteotomy.
Ohrt’s femur literally was cut in half, with his leg reset at a 15-degree different angle in order to help take pressure off his knee. His family doesn’t want it known which leg was operated on so opponents don’t target it.
“Even my pants fit better now,” he said.
Recuperation and rehab went well enough for him to try playing football again. Things went expectedly slowly at the beginning, but now Ohrt is playing what he estimates 80 to 85 percent of his team’s offensive snaps at the right tackle position.
Prairie (4-3) hosts Cedar Rapids Washington at about 7:30 Friday night in a key Mississippi Valley Conference game. The teams are tied with Cedar Rapids Xavier atop the Valley Division.
“You have to feel good for Christian,” said Prairie Coach Mike Morrissey. “He is a mentally tough kid to battle back from something like this.”
“I feel better than I have in a long time,” Ohrt said. “I’m able to practice everyday, and I feel good. I’ve just got to make sure that I do my physical therapy.”
As you would expect, Ohrt’s mobility isn’t great, but at his size, it doesn’t necessarily have to be great. Morrissey said he and his coaching staff have watched film where the defender lined up opposite Ohrt tries to get around him and takes himself completely out of the play, opening a huge hole for running back Mitch Christensen.
There even have been times when Morrissey has lined up Bryce Meeker (6-6, 285 pounds) next to Ohrt for a gargantuan right side of the line.
“We usually don’t have any problems creating holes for Mitch Christensen,” Ohrt said. “It’s kind of like a hot knife through butter.”
Ohrt said his ultimate goal is to play in college, something he wouldn’t have considered remotely possible a year ago. He wants to make the most of the second chance he has been given to play football.
“I really do feel this is a gift,” he said. “I owe it all to my doctor. I was put in very good hands. He knew what I needed to have done.
“Being able to play football again has been just great. Playing for Prairie has been like going from dirt to gold. I mean, I don’t mean to be rude. But there is never any negativity here. Every player does whatever he can to help the team win.”CEDAR RAPIDS – Getting used to a new school was the least of issues for Christian Ohrt. That part was easy.