I started playing volleyball in eighth grade for the Guilford Adams Middle School team.
I started playing soccer in the third grade. I have never played for a club team, so up until high school, I was only playing intramural soccer that my school offered.Serena Ta ’20:
I started playing softball around third grade.
What position do you play?
I am a setter.Kim:
I have been playing right defense for the past three years at Hopkins, but at times I have had to fill other positions, such as midfield or forward.
I play center field.How did you tear your ACL?
I was at Disney World for lacrosse preseason and during a scrimmage, I changed directions and it just tore instantly.
It was the first game of the season as a junior. Twenty minutes into the game, me and a girl from the opposing team lunged for the ball. I landed funky because the next thing I knew, I was on the ground and I couldn’t get up.
It was kind of embarrassing. In the semifinal game, I went to high five my teammate, but I slipped in the process and tore my ACL.
Describe how you felt when you found out you had torn your ACL.
Originally, they assured me that I DEFINITELY did not tear my ACL, so I enjoyed being in Disney with my team. They rolled me around the parks in a wheelchair, and we got to cut the lines. It actually turned out really well! Once I got an MRI two months later, I was really upset because I realized I would have to miss the rest of the lacrosse season and my next volleyball season.
At first, I thought it was merely a sprain, so when I first heard I tore it, I was extremely disheartened to know that my injury was more severe than I had realized. After receiving the MRI results, I cried in the car on my way home. Since this was my first year as Junior Captain of the team, I was dispirited because my season had ended before it really even began. The word “exasperation” best describes my emotions due to the timing of the injury. I was also upset due to the fact that I would not be able to support my team as much, since I was a new captain.
At first, I thought it was very minor and that I could play through it. I practiced for a week, and it was only when I was warming up before the FAA Finals when I realized that something was wrong.
How long and difficult was your recovery?
After waiting two months for an MRI and another month to get past finals, I had my surgery in the beginning of the summer. The first two weeks after the surgery were tough, but the pain slowly went away. I went to physical therapy twice a week, but by the end of the summer, only once a week. By the time I got to Thanksgiving break, I was able to start playing volleyball again, but with a really uncomfortable brace.
The physical recovery was nothing compared to the academic recovery. I ended up missing about a week-and-a-half of school. My third day back, I took the PSAT on pain medication. For the next two weeks, I had to make up tests and quizzes, and meet with teachers. Although the physical part of recovery was not as bad, it still took a long time. Sometimes, I would feel discouraged because I was working so hard, but seeing very little improvement. Once I did start playing again, it became a huge mental battle because I was afraid to dive. I had to learn to overcome the fear, and remember how much I love playing soccer.Ta:
I wasn’t cleared when the season started the year after my injury. It kind of sucked having to sit there and watch everyone for a couple of weeks even though I could basically do everything, I was just waiting on the all-clear from my doctor. The recovery felt a lot more mental than physical. After surgery, I think I was kind of depressed because it was summer and all I could do was sit around and try to bend my knee. At one point it really felt like I wasn’t making any progress because it was taking forever to get my brace unlocked. I think I was just in this rut of feeling like I would never return to sports.
What life lessons have you learned as a result of your injury?
I learned the value of being a part of a team, even if I wasn’t able to play or practice with them. I still felt very close to the girls, and found that cheering them on was almost as fun as playing with them!
I have learned to be persistent, patient and have a positive attitude. Not playing for nine months, being on crutches for two of them, and the countless times I’ve had to wear my cumbersome knee brace was a burden, but having the persistence, but also the patience to do so, made the process that much easier. Also, having a positive attitude is one of the most essential parts of any injury because an optimistic outlook on these things benefitted both me and my team.
I don’t know that overcoming my injury quite inspired me to work harder, but it definitely gave me a new outlook. The way I injured myself was pretty stupid, and to some extent when I play it still feels like I’ll never quite perform how I used to. I still don’t trust my knee to do things like sliding, and I’m cautious to cut when I run.