Hawaii Strong: Kapolei’s Vasega faces challenges with a smile

Anyone who knows Kapolei linebacker Tyler Vasega will agree: He’s a warrior.

Hurricane head coach Darren Hernandez describes him as rugged, but his personality is anything but.

The first thing you’ll notice about Vasega is his teeth — that wide smile is a sign of optimism and laughter.

That Hawaii Strong demeanor helped him overcome an injury that looked sure to be season-ending.

With ligament damage and fractures in his knee, Vasega hit physical therapy as hard as he hit ball carriers.

He managed to shorten his recovery time from an expected 12 weeks to just seven.

“When we didn’t have football practice, I’d be at rehab. The boys would be like, ‘Oh, we’ve got a day off,’ and I noted to myself, ‘Aw, I don’t have a day off.’ It’s another day of football practice, just an indoor football practice. It was pretty rugged,” he said with a laugh.

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