Iowa Hawkeye safety Brandon Snyder's trying 2017 included three knee injuries

Mark Emmert
Hawk Central

INWOOD, Ia. — Brandon Snyder’s junior season as an Iowa football player was more trying than people knew, marked by not two, but three surgical procedures on his left knee, his father, Tim, told the Register this month.

Snyder played in only one game in 2017 after starting at free safety for the Hawkeyes throughout 2016. The trouble began when he suffered a torn ACL during spring practices, with some speculation that it would cost him the entire season.

Snyder pushed ahead with his rehabilitation and was able to return for Iowa’s sixth game, against Illinois. He thrilled the Kinnick Stadium crowd by bringing back an interception 89 yards for a touchdown in that 45-16 victory.

Brandon Snyder, shown here in a knee brace before the Sept. 23 Iowa game vs. Penn State, missed all but one game last season after a trio of injuries. He is expected to be fully healthy for this summer's training camp.

But what fans didn’t know was Snyder had suffered a partial tear in his left knee earlier that game. Tim Snyder winced when he saw the play happen.

“It was a fluky play in the second quarter. The play was over, but the (Illinois) lineman didn’t know the play was over,” Tim Snyder said. “(Brandon) was in kind of a non-athletic position because he wasn’t expecting it. And the guy chopped him kind of and hyperextended that knee.”

Tim Snyder said Brandon avoided trainers at halftime because he sensed something wasn’t right and he wanted to keep playing. The sensation nagged at Brandon throughout the ensuing bye week and he ultimately got an MRI the following Sunday, which revealed the partial tear.

That resulted in arthroscopic surgery and Iowa announced Snyder would miss the remainder of the season. Brandon had other thoughts.

“Brandon was chomping at the bit. He was seeing games missed. He didn’t want to waste a whole year, because he’d already redshirted (as a freshman),” Tim Snyder.

Brandon targeted the Ohio State game three weeks later as a return date. The Monday of that practice week, he suffered a full tear of the ACL, including meniscus damage. That surgery did keep him through spring practices this year.

It was a difficult six months for his son not being able to participate with his teammates, Tim Snyder said. But Brandon’s expected to be healthy in plenty of time to participate in summer training camp, where he’ll be joined by younger brother Jaden.

Lately, Tim Snyder has been heartened by a familiar determination in Brandon’s voice.

“He says he’s going to get drafted next year,” Tim Snyder said. “I haven’t heard that in a while.”