Fantuz Courage Awards: Camden Melrose showed mental toughness during injury comeback

While it is hard to bounce back from a serious injury as a professional football player, it is even more inspiring when a young player successfully returns from their very first serious injury to play the sport again. Camden Melrose accomplished just that, courageously facing his first major injury at a very young age and working his way back to play the game he loves.

Coming back from a serious injury in football is no easy task. The road back from an injury can be a long one filled with challenges like intense physiotherapy and it is a difficult part of football for players at every level. But Camden Melrose went through it all with determination and toughness.

Melrose broke his femur back in 2015 at the age of nine while playing defence for the Hammers of the London Minor Football Association. Melrose was playing well that day when things took an unfortunate turn for the worst.

“I was playing defensive end and having a great game,” Melrose said. “It was right before halftime. I got blocked by one guy high and one guy blocked me lower and we all fell down. My leg broke when they fell on me.”

Caught up in a nasty chop block, Melrose would now begin his long journey back to try to play football once again.

“I had never had a serious injury before this day,” Melrose said.

Melrose said the biggest challenge was all the work it took to get his body back to where it needed to be. He said going through all the physiotherapy was the toughest part of the comeback.

“There was a lot of training and workouts to do to get back in playing shape,” Melrose said.

Camden’s father, Adam, said the hardest part for his son was not being able to play the game he loves so much.

“Camden went from being involved in sport six days a week to none,” Adam Melrose said. “It was tough to see a kid that just loves to play be confined to the house for a few weeks.”

One thing that helped the young football player immensely on his way back from injury was his attitude and mental toughness.

Melrose never gave up when things got difficult and he remained positive from the moment he was injured to the moment he returned to the field. He even looked up to professional players for inspiration.

“I just kept reminding myself that people get hurt all the time and come back,” Melrose said. “Some of my favourite pros were hurt and came back that year also, this helped me keep moving.”

Knowing how determined his son is, Adam Melrose was not surprised at all by how positive and mentally strong Camden remained during his comeback.

“He is an overall happy kid all the time, always positive and looking forward,” Adam Melrose said. “I knew that he would bounce back and recover in good time. He worked super hard at every physio appointment and did his stretches at home every day. He was determined to be back on the field for his spring program.”

After months of physiotherapy, Melrose overcame adversity and met his goal of returning to his spring league team, the London Junior Mustangs.

Lining up at running back and quarterback, the versatile young athlete had officially completed his comeback. Melrose described the moment of first returning as being “scary but exciting”.

“I was super excited to be back with my friends on the field,” Melrose said.

Having gone through a significant football injury at such a young age, Melrose offered some advice for other young players facing similar situations.

“Nothing is impossible,” Melrose said. “I broke my leg on Canadian thanksgiving and was walking by American thanksgiving, something I didn’t think was possible but it happened.”

Melrose’s impressive accomplishment has not gone unnoticed. He and a group of other young LMFA players were recently selected to be honoured by CFL receiver Andy Fantuz for overcoming their challenges and displaying courage.

Melrose got to meet Fantuz, who is now in the middle of a difficult injury comeback himself. The young players also received free helmets and shoulder pads from Xenith as a reward for rising above adversity.

“I am very happy that my story got me involved with this program,” Melrose said. “It was really nice meeting Andy too.”


Andy Fantuz will be honouring minor football athletes who have demonstrated outstanding character by overcoming adversity. The nominees will receive free Xenith helmets and shoulder pads courtesy of Andy Fantuz and Fulton Financial.



About Xenith

Developed in Detroit, Xenith is driven by a relentless pursuit to protect athletes everywhere through groundbreaking innovations and product superiority. Xenith is the industry leader in football helmet technology and the company’s mission is to develop and distribute the best equipment in the world. Founded in 2006 by a former Harvard University quarterback and Columbia University physician, all Xenith helmets feature Adaptive Head Protection, a system of patented technologies designed to mitigate rotational and linear forces featuring the Shock Bonnet® Suspension System, Fit Seeker System and Shock Absorbers.

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About Fulton Financial

Developed in Based in London, ON, Fulton Financial provides a full suite of financial services products. 

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