It has been a long road back to the football field for Justin Foster.
The senior Clemson defensive end initially wasn’t even planning on playing football this fall after stepping away from the game at the start of the offseason following complications related to asthma and COVID-19.
However, this spring, Foster informed Clemson coaches of his intent to return to the team and resume training for the upcoming season, and he returned this summer.
Foster spoke to the media following Tuesday’s practice about what he dealt with last year when he was unavailable to play for the entire 2020 season.
“There were weeks where I felt really good and I felt like I could go out there,” Foster said. “But we were doing three or four days, and then all of a sudden I would have an asthma attack. And most of the time when I did have a problem, it would set me back three or four days. … So, I was very limited when I did have problems. Sometimes I wasn’t even coming to team meetings or even coming here, I just stayed at home and just rested.”
Foster said the hardest part of physically building himself back up was simply waking up and pushing himself every day, even when he was short of breath and wheezing or didn’t feel good.
“Just getting up and still trying to run, walk, do something,” he said. “Some days it was just like, I don’t want to do this, I’m just going to give up, and it’s just the fact of waking up. I knew I was getting better and just pushing myself each day.”
Foster said Monday’s practice was probably the best he’s felt since he has been back.
“I’ve had ups and downs, but no matter what, just kept on pushing,” he said. “I feel 100 percent now. I don’t really have any problems. … So, I feel really good.”
Prior to missing the 2020 season, Foster recorded 66 career tackles (17.5 for loss), 7.0 sacks, a pass breakup, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery over 39 career games with 13 starts from 2017-19. In his first season as a starter in 2019, he earned an honorable mention All-ACC selection in addition to garnering All-ACC Academic honors.