CIS

One Gee-Gee’s basketball career pushed past the limit

Photo credit: Sarah Nolette

I was going for a lay-up when my defensive player hit me. I fell hard. When my foot hit the ground, all I could hear was the pop. The pain was instantaneous.

I was 18 years old when I tore my ACL during a quarterfinal game in a provincial championship as a senior on my high school basketball team. After the fall, my leg began to swell, and I knew something was wrong. What I didn’t know was I would be sidelined with a knee injury—and it wouldn’t be the last time.

Three weeks later doctors told me I had torn my ACL, MCL, and meniscus, and the following week I had my surgery. The recovery process was long, but I worked hard and managed to get cleared to play only five months later.

My dream was to play basketball at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) level. In order to reach that goal I had a lot of work to do.

I returned to high school for a fifth year to keep playing. During the season, it was obvious I was not the player I used to be. My confidence was depleted, and I wasn’t playing to my full potential.

But in January 2011, I was given the opportunity to attend and play basketball for the University of Ottawa. Like it is for most athletes, the transition from high school to university basketball was hard, but eventually I pushed through and began to feel like myself again.

Just a year later, I tore the three ligaments for a second time in practice. It was devastating to think about going through it all again. The surgery was pushed to May, and 10 days after the surgery I was sent to the hospital with an infection.

I was rushed into emergency surgery to clean out the joint and prevent the spread of the bacteria. It was terrifying.

The recovery process this time was elongated because my knee was immobilized for three weeks. I was unable to start physiotherapy during that period, or do anything at all. I was unable to play when I returned to school in the fall, but I decided to be a practice player for the team’s upcoming season.

During a practice in March 2013, I tore my ACL for the third time. That was the moment I realized my basketball career was at an end.

I had my final surgery last August. The doctor performed a rather new procedure to reconstruct my ACL and give it a ‘’backup.”

During my rehabilitation, my motivation was at its lowest because it felt like I had nothing to work for. I had no practices, no teammates, and no season to look forward to.

The recovery was hard, extremely hard, but looking back I realize how amazing my body is. I’m 22 and have undergone five knee surgeries. My body endured a lot during my basketball career, and it may not have ended the way I imagined, but I gained a greater appreciation for my body.

I am grateful for the determination and strength these past years have given me. I wake up every morning to work out, go for a run, or even just to swim—because I cherish what my body can still do for me.