Abby Wright

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Hi my name is Abby Wright. I am a senior on the Women’s Basketball team at Eastern Kentucky University. My injury stems all the way back to when I was a senior in high school. The game when it all began was my senior night against Smyrna when I all of the sudden planted wrong and had an excruciating pain shoot up my right leg. Just like that the worst of the worst came to my mind. I was carried off the court and was not able to walk for a couple of days until I was able to see a doctor. My doctor then ordered the usual tests (MRI’s and X-rays) and I was told I had a big tear in my calf muscle, but the also noticed a couple minor cysts on my ACL. I wanted to continue playing so I got a steroid injection, decided to have a minor clean up surgery after season, and played the next night. 

Little did I know that a week after our state championship run, I would undergo a surgery that was more than just a clean up. On March 17th, 2015, Dr. Elrod went out to my mom in the lobby of the hospital and told her that I had 4-5 big and little cysts on my ACL that he had to take off and then do a PRP injection (blood taken from my arm and injected into the ACL to help it grow back), I had small tears on my MCL, my joint cartilage was worn down and he did a micro fracture treatment, I had a floating bone fragment behind my patella that he had to remove and didn’t know where it came from, and the cartilage above my kneecap was hanging down and catching so he had to trim it. What was supposed to be a 2-week recovery slipped through the cracks once he opened up my knee. The amount of pain I was in following the procedure led to 4 shots of morphine, which still didn’t work so we went with a nerve block so I couldn’t feel my leg at all. 

The recovery process was long and hard because I was not expecting to do therapy 4 days a week on what was supposed to be only 2 days a week. I was supposed to report to summer school for college basketball in 3 months and I couldn’t believe I wasn’t ready come May. After 6 months of physical therapy and treatments, I was finally released to run. Another month later, it led me to getting back on the court and playing. Even though the physical recovery process was tough and there were days I didn’t want to go, the mental process was a lot harder. How was I to compete with the other girls with more experience and that had been doing the regular workouts, while I watched. While on the sidelines though I was able to see basketball from another perspective. I was able to be more appreciative of what God has given me and I was a support system for a lot of girls on my team. From that freshman year struggle, I have been able to use what I learned from those moments and apply them to my next three years. Senior me looks back and thanks that struggling athlete for staying strong and taking the challenge and fighting it. 

Three years later I am finally a senior and I still have struggles with my injury. I am no longer able to squat in the weight room, go past 90 degrees, and can’t do any of the track workouts or extra sprints in practice. I have gotten 3 steroid/lubricant injects and wear a knee brace since freshman year. I’m not as self conscious as I used to be about my injury or my scars. The three lines on my knee are faint, but still visible if they’re searched for. For a while I viewed them as my weakness, the spots I could never run from or get rid of. Even if the scars fade, for athletes there is always a mental scar that will never let you forget them. 

I found support through my family and teammates that were continuously there for me through every high and low. I talked to my parent’s everyday and they were an outlet for me to just cry and let everything out. My teammates/friends always had my back at every workout. If they saw me in pain they would help me off the court or make me get off even if I fought to stay on the court. If I was ever struggling, they were there cheering me on every step of the way. Without them I don’t think I could have ever gotten over my physical and mental scars. 

Bailey Cartwright