Canadian QB Kurtis Rourke, brother of B.C. Lions’ Nathan Rourke, suffers season-ending injury

Photo courtesy: Ohio University

Canadian quarterback Kurtis Rourke suffered a knee injury this past week, which ESPN’s Pete Thamel reported will end his season at Ohio University.

“It’s a tough break for Kurtis,” said head coach Tim Albin in a statement. “He’s a great quarterback, captain and person, so this impacts us on multiple levels. Kurtis will play a key part in the coming weeks, helping (backup quarterback) CJ (Harris) and the entire team prepare for the rest of the season. We will be right beside him through the rehabilitation.”

Rourke completed 69.1 percent of his passes this season for 3,257 yards, 25 touchdowns, and four interceptions. He also ran the ball 74 times for 245 yards and four touchdowns. The team went 8-3 with him at the helm to sit atop the Mid-American Conference.

The 22-year-old is the younger brother of B.C. Lions’ quarterback Nathan Rourke, who issued a statement regarding the injury on Twitter.

“Our family was heartbroken to learn of Kurtis’ injury, especially after his incredible breakout year,” Nathan wrote. “While we acknowledge that the road ahead of him will be long, we have full certainty that Kurtis will return to his playing form to play at the level that he has.”

Kurtis redshirted in 2019, which was Nathan’s final year with the Bobcats. He shared time as the starter in 2020 and 2021, throwing for 2,187 yards, 14 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. He also ran 89 times for 382 yards and three touchdowns over those two seasons.

The six-foot-four, 216-pound passer set a new school single-game passing yardage record in September when he threw for 537 yards and four touchdowns in a 59-52 win over Fordham.

Nathan also suffered a major injury this season and underwent surgery to repair a sprained Lisfranc in his foot in August. He returned to the field at the end of the season far ahead of schedule and led the B.C. Lions to an appearance in the West Final, though they lost 28-20 to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Canadian and is expected to participate in a number of NFL workouts next week.

Due to pandemic exemption rules, Kurtis has up to two more years of college eligibility remaining following this season. With his sibling seemingly destined for the NFL someday, teams on both sides of the border will be following the rest of his collegiate career with great interest.