BSU 6th-Year QB Brandon Alt Battles Back from ACL Injuries, Much Adversity
Bemidji State quarterback Brandon Alt didn’t even know where Bemidji State University was when he was in his early high school days.
“If you would have mentioned Bemidji State, I would have said, ‘I don’t know where it is, no, probably not,'” says Alt.
He originally verbally committed to St. Cloud State, but after a visit to Bemidji State, he switched from Husky red and white to Beaver green and white.
“Really, why I choose [Bemidji State] was because the guys, the coaching staff, and the offense, that’s what sold me,” explains Alt.
A curveball before Alt even began his college career was foreshadowing to what would be many curveballs to come his way at Bemidji State.
After redshirting as a freshman, Alt was the heir apparent to take over under center after long-time starter Jordan Hein graduated. Alt won the preseason QB battle and shined in his first six quarters of action, throwing for six total touchdowns and 348 yards.
But in the second half of a game at UMary, Alt’s start came to a abrupt end, where he suffered a season-ending ACL injury that caught Alt off guard.
“It was more shocking than sad at first, because like I said, in high school I was healthy, never got injured, so once it happened it was more of a shock than any other emotions,” says Alt.
He used a medical redshirt and spent the next year rehabbing before the start of the 2019 season. All seemed well heading into BSU’s season-opener on the road at Northern State, where Alt got off to another red-hot start, throwing for four touchdowns and 192 yards.
But on a play in the 3rd quarter, Alt planted on his right leg and felt a pain that was all too familiar. Once again, his season was cut short before it ever got rolling, and a second torn ACL injury ended his season.
“First thought is, ‘alright, am I going to do this again? Am I going to start over from square one?'” says Alt.
This time around, the ACL injury was more severe than the first. Alt needed to find a match of a donor with a similarly structured knee because the cap of his fibula busted out. He also needed to have surgery done on both his injured and non-injured leg.
“The first ACL we used my right patellar tendon for the re-constructed ACL and so after the second one we didn’t want to dig back in the patellar tendon, so we went into the left leg, perfectly good one, and took some of that out,” explains Alt.
After talks with his members of his inner circle, Alt decided to return back to the sport he loved.
“I mean, talking with family, teammates, coaches, those are the ones that pick you up lead you down the right path,” says Alt. “Everyone knew what I was capable of, so let’s run through this storm and run through it.”
To go along with family, friends, and his team, Alt also had the support from the staff at Sanford Health in Bemidji, in particular physical therapist Jarad Syrstad and the support of BSU Head Athletic Trainer Eric Sand, along with the full BSU Athletic Training staff.
After enduring another year of recovery and rehab, Alt was preparing to play in the fall of 2020. However, Alt’s season would be cancelled again, this time because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which ended up being a blessing in disguise.
“I was just blessed to come out here and lace my shoes up and go out and play football, that was the only thing on my mind,” adds Alt. “It was just…’I’m out here playing football and that’s all I really care about right now.'”
Finally, after three seasons either cut short or cancelled, a healthy Brandon Alt played in a full season in 2021. Alt didn’t just play, though – he shined. Alt threw for over 4,000 passing yards, 46 passing touchdowns, broke numerous NSIC and BSU passing records, and was a Harlon Hill finalist for the top player in all of Division 2 football, all while leading the Beavers to their first-ever NCAA Tournament.
“Game after game, we could kind of tell that there really was no ceiling for that offense, that was very exciting going into game after game, my main focus was last year, I was just blessed to walk out of all the games healthy,” says Alt.
Alt enters the 2022 season as a 6th-year junior, a title that’s become something his teammates have poked fun at.
“There was an alumni that just came in to talk to the team and he said, ‘don’t you guys have a 10th-year senior or something like that?'” says Alt.
With two years of eligibility remaining, the 6th-year junior shrugged and said, “Yeah, the word is out that I’m pretty old.” But despite the jokes, Alt wears his “6th-year junior” title with pride. It tells the story of a gunslinger from Cottage Grove that took an alternate path to get to his college home, and once he got to Bemidji, his journey has been nothing short of ups-and-downs.
But through it all, Alt has learned and earned plenty of lessons.
“My family and I say it, ‘God has a plan,’ I think it was a lot of maturing through that time, I can’t say I did it on my own, there are so many people that helped me get through it that I gave all my thanks to them…I don’t know I look back and it’s something to be proud of.”