By Stephen Tobey, Littleton Independent
BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- Last fall was supposed to be Travis Bassett’s last season of college football.
Hip and shoulder injuries forced him to the sidelines, but this fall he’s back on the field, playing for Bridgewater State University.
“It’s good to be back,” Bassett said. “It took a lot of hard work in rehab. Once I took the first hit in practice, it felt good.”
Bassett, who helped Littleton High win the MIAA Division 6 state championship in 2013, enters week four of the 2018 season ranked third all-time in receptions with 147 at Bridgewater State and third in receiving yards with 2,129. He’s caught 17 touchdown passes in his career, putting him eighth all-time for the Bears.
In the Bears’ first three games this season he has 15 catches for 178 yards and one touchdown, while the team went 1-2.
As a freshman Bassett was the Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference’s Offensive Rookie of the year. He helped the team go 7-3 when he was a sophomore and 8-2 as a junior. The 2016 team won the conference title and earned a berth in the NCAA Division III tournament, where they lost to Alfred University in the first round.
During the 2016 season, however, Bassett played on a bad hip. He had surgery to repair a torn labrum in the summer of 2017 and shortly thereafter, he had another surgery to repair a torn labrum in one of his shoulders.
“The hip took six months,” Bassett said. “The shoulder also took six months. After that, I had to build up strength and start lifting, then running.”
While Bassett wasn’t playing during the 2017 season, he attended practices and team meetings when he was not going to physical therapy sessions.
Bassett was a running back while he was at Littleton and he switched to receiver at BSU. The Bears run a spread offense. While Bridgewater State has more plays in its playbook, there are some similarities to what the Tigers ran during Bassett’s last two seasons at the high school level.
“[The Littleton coaches] did a great job preparing me for college,” Bassett said. “They did the same thing with the no-huddle and the flash cards.”
Bassett said the game is faster in college. With 98 players on the roster, everyone plays on offense or defense instead of going both ways. The commitment is also year-round, with mandatory participation in the offseason strength and conditioning program.
For Bassett’s first three years, one of his teammates was former Littleton quarterback Alex McLaughlin. McLaughlin switched to running back and enjoyed a 1,000-yard season. He graduated last year.
After graduating Bassett plans to go to graduate school for physical therapy. He’s currently taking classes to prepare himself for graduate school. This is his last season of football, however, meaning he’ll be looking for another challenging physical and competitive outlet.
“It’s definitely something I’m thinking about,” he said. “I’ll have to find something to fill the void, maybe weightlifting, maybe pickup basketball. I’m a very competitive person.”