Day by day, Kyle Young improving as he eyes Ohio State return

Adam Jardy
The Columbus Dispatch
Injured Ohio State players, from left, Justice Sueing, Seth Towns and Kyle Young watch teammates warm up prior to Monday's exhibition game.

It’s impossible to know exactly how Kyle Young came down with a vestibular dysfunction that has the Ohio State fifth-year senior sidelined. Forecasting an exact return to action, too, is a challenge at the moment.

But the good news is that Young is healing, making progress and looking forward to getting back onto the court soon for the Buckeyes.

“I’m feeling good,” Young said Tuesday at Value City Arena while participating in the annual “Blood Battle” between Ohio State and Michigan. “I’m pretty much back to working out. Just trying to get back into practice. I’m doing rehab and stuff like that. Just trying to get comfortable enough to get back in the game and compete at the level I want to compete at.”

A key player whose hustle and work ethic has made him a fan favorite, Young was named one of four team captains for the 2021-22 season after deciding to return for a fifth season with the Buckeyes. Last season, he averaged 8.6 points and 5.5 rebounds but had his season cut short when he suffered two concussions within the span of three weeks.

Ohio State forward Kyle Young rests momentarily after being injured in a game against Iowa on Feb. 28.

He wasn’t able to participate in the NCAA Tournament, but once he was cleared Young was enjoying a healthy summer before he started to feel off. As he would work out, Young started experiencing various symptoms that took some time to get answers for.

Young described it as similar to vertigo or nausea.

“The vestibular dysfunction is just pretty much, your system is kind of just off, in a way,” he said. “It’s just kind of a thing where some of that dizziness and stuff settled in. Some of the other symptoms, the headaches and stuff, with it.”

Eventually, Ohio State’s medical staff was able to pinpoint the ailment and begin treatment that has included some medication.

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“It’s mainly just been rehab for me and it’s been working on things,” Young said. “The vestibular system is pretty much your balance, your vision and all that stuff with your hearing. It’s pretty much getting all of that back on track, whether that’s vision therapy or just working on your balance in general. Just trying to get everything normalized, and there’s a lot of different ways you can go about it but the plan we’ve took has worked pretty well.”

Young said it’s impossible to tell whether the concussions suffered last season led to the condition but said he’s not worried about the situations being linked or his safety going forward once he’s back on the court.

“It can happen from anything,” he said. “It could just be a normal thing, someone everyday just chilling and it could onset. I trust in our staff and our medical staff 100%. No worry. You never can really tell, I guess, or pinpoint where it came from, but everything under the hood is all checked out.”

Getting a diagnosis and a plan has helped put Young at ease, knowing there is a path to getting back on the court. A positive mindset has helped, too: Young said he tries to stay positive and appreciate that he’s surrounded by family, friends and coaches who help support him.

Ohio State opens the season Nov. 9 against Akron. Although he’s feeling better and making progress, Young’s availability against the Zips is an unknown at this point.

“No timetable,” he said. “It’s kind of tough to tell. It’s kind of when I feel the most comfortable to get back out there. I could wake up tomorrow and be feeling completely different. I guess it’s just day by day at this point.”

Day by day, though, it’s getting better.