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By ASHLEY SCOBY
It has been a season of ups and downs for UK first-string safety Ashely Lowery. After a productive first half of his sophomore year this season, Lowery went out of both the Florida and Mississippi State games with head injuries.
“I didn’t have a clue (where I was),” he said about the injuries.
After the initial injury, during the Florida game, Lowery had a hard time concentrating in class, looking at computer screens and even reading from books. The headaches he suffered from were painful, but all he wanted to do was get back out on the field.
“I had a bunch of people who were trying to get me to stay out like an extra week,” Lowery said. “They were trying to come up and stay with me and make sure I wasn’t practicing or doing too much, like putting too much stress on myself throughout the week with class and practice. I just told them I’d be all right because I’ve had a concussion before and it’s nothing too bad.”
After Lowery came out of the first quarter of the Mississippi State game with another head injury, it was time for his mother to pay him a visit. She came up to Lexington to stay with him for a “couple days” while he was recovering; he also went back to his hometown during the weekend of the Arkansas game to watch his high school football team play and to regroup.
After all that, Lowery stated that he is now “100%” and back to normal. And what was his thought process for the first game in which he played after the head injuries?
“I was just ready to hit someone,” he said. “I didn’t really care.”
Now, with Lowery healthy and producing again on the field, the focus turns, once again, to the state of the UK football program and the question of Joker Phillips’ future at the helm. None of that is easy for the players, but they each have their own motivations for continuing to fight.
“It’s just drive really,” Lowery said. “I just challenge myself to be the best I can be, to just be one who can make it from where I grew up. Not many people have been able to make it. We had a bunch of big athletes and whatnot, but everybody ends up getting in trouble. I’m just trying to stay out and make it, and get my education.”
With that inner drive pulling him forward, Lowery stressed the importance of continuing to fight, even in the face of a now 1-8 record. He also acknowledged the role played by he and his teammates, rather than the coaching staff, in Kentucky’s struggles this season.
“When it’s all said and done, it’s not all on him (Coach Phillips),” Lowery said. “They’re coaching us but we’re out there playing. He’s doing what he can to put us in position to win the game, so we’ve just got to execute and stop turning the ball over and get turnovers to help put the team in a better position to win…It’s not all on him. There’s so many other parts taken into the whole grand scheme of things. It’s just hard to sit back and watch them put everything on him.”