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Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Virginia Tech's Martin rolling with the punches

By Heather Dinich
ESPN.com


Posted by ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich


Virginia Tech linebacker Cam Martin thought he jammed his right middle finger on his first play Saturday against Marshall. He went to the sideline after the series ended, and his glove was “full of blood.”

The training staff took out a Band-Aid to stop the bleeding, wrapped it up in some tape, and he went back in the game. Every time Martin came off the field, his finger needed more attention. It wasn’t until halftime, when he had to get stitches, when Martin realized the bone hadápoked through his skin.
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
Virginia Tech linebacker Cam Martin has gotten used to playing through pain.

“To me, I was like, if I come out of the game for a jammed finger, that’s pretty wimpy,” said Martin, who finished second on the team with six tackles, including one tackle for loss in the Hokies’ 52-10 romp of Marshall. “It feels pretty terrible this week.”

Pain is par for the course for Martin, a fifth-year senior who seems to have had as many injuries as he has career tackles for loss (14.5).

He missed all of this past spring with a right knee injury, but the knee injury that has limited him the most occurred in the 2007 ACC title game. He’s still dealing with the lingering effects of a microfracture on the inside of his knee cap that’s caused him to become noticeably slower and still causes some pain when he plants.

He’s also partially torn his labrum. He’s had a shoulder sprain. He had a foot injury that kept him out a few games. Since his senior year in high school, Martin has undergone four surgeries. He has had so many injuries he couldn’t even name them all. He’s had two hernias, one on each side that required surgery. His elbow has been “all jacked up” since high school and doesn’t fully extend anymore.

Heck, he even had an ingrown toenail.

“I know how limited my plays are right now,” he said. “I know when I’m in there I need to make the best of them. … I don’t think a hurt finger is a reason to come out of the game.”

Martin said he’ll wear a small molded cast on his finger this Saturday against Nebraska so it won’t bother him. Considering his medical history, odds are it won’t.

"A guy that goes through as much pain to play this game as he does, you just want things to work out good for him," said coach Frank Beamer. "I think he's probably more appreciative than ever of the time to get out there and make some plays, and help this football team. What a solid guy, what a good guy, what a good football player."

Martin, who splits time with redshirt senior Cody Grimm at whip linebacker, isn’t na´ve. He knows Grimm is faster. This year, Martin really doesn’t know when he’ll get in the game. That’s why he takes every opportunity he’s given to get on the field -- injured or not.

“Some of the older guys ask me about being on the kickoff team,” Martin said. “Like, why don’t I tell coach Beamer to take me off, I’m a senior. I’m like, why? You come to Virginia Tech to play football. If he asks me to go out there on kickoff, right I’m going to go out there on kickoff. If I play five snaps, if I play 50 snaps, I’m going to give them all like I’m playing my last game. With all these injuries, you don’t know when it’s going to be your last game.”