McALESTER — Chad Meadows knew the injury was coming. He’d been feeling pain in his elbow as early as his freshman football season, and he said doctors had warned him that at some point, his elbow would just give out.
It did on the final game of baseball season his freshman year.
“I was swinging a bat, and the bone died in my elbow,” Meadows said Friday. “It was right on the joint, and when I swung it, the bone popped off.”
The injury kept Meadows out of sports for a year — a radical change for Meadows, who began playing T-ball as a 3-year-old and has played competitive baseball ever since.
“Basically as soon as I was walking, I was swinging a bat,” Meadows said.
“In T-ball, I’d always tag people out. Everybody hit around and nobody got out, but I was always mad because I would tag somebody out and they wouldn’t call them out.”
Though born in McAlester, Meadows went to Savanna through the sixth grade. When his mother became principal at Krebs, he said, Meadows transferred to Puterbaugh Middle School because his father thought McAlester would give him a better chance of some day earning an athletic scholarship.
Now a senior, Meadows is the Buffs’ starting second baseman. He said he started playing second base as early as 2005, his first of back-to-back state-championship seasons with the Oklahoma Sooners travel baseball team, but he was primarily a catcher.
Meadows stayed behind the plate until his elbow injury. By the time he returned from his injury for his sophomore season, second base had become his primary position.
Though he lettered his first two seasons playing for the Buffs, Meadows didn’t become a starter until his junior year. He said he’s still the Buffs’ third-string catcher behind Brett Homer and Kabyn Kelley, but while he misses catching, he’s come to really enjoy playing in the field.