Have you ever felt as though your only known identity has been stripped away from you in a matter of a fewseconds? Well, I have. My name is Brekken Fukushima, a senior at Creighton University and former Division 1 soccer player for the Bluejays. My story begins back in 2013 when I blocked a shot during practice and felt my knee snap backwards. In that moment, I knew something was seriously wrong. At the age of 16 years old, I had experienced my first Medial Cruciate Ligament (MCL), and lateral meniscus tear. Against all odds, I bounced back in a matter of a week and I felt unstoppable. 363 days later, just shy of one year, I tore my left knee menisci and Lateral Cruciate Ligament (LCL). And believe it or not, did the same to my right knee only a few months following. It was at this point that rehab and treatment became a daily routine. I was the girl with four microscopic holes on top of her broken, beaten down knees. It felt as though my emotional and physical scars would never heal. Fast forward to this year: I have undergone five knee surgeries, and live in constant reminder of the trauma my body has endured. My fifth, and last knee surgery was by far the worst. I underwent a procedure called Osteochondral Allograft Transplantion surgery (OATS). This surgery left me with a big scar just lateral of my patella and I get to see it each and every day. Immediately after surgery, I was quickly known on campus as “the wheelchair girl” because that was me for two straight months. Dealing with daily treatments, intense and excruciating rehab, as well as having an ugly hypertrophic scar definitely took a toll on my emotional health. I was told that the only chance of me playing the sport I loved again, was if I went through with a double Osteotomy (leg realignment surgery). This turned intothe abrupt end to my collegiate career. From one day to the next, I would blame my knees for ruining my soccer career, stripping away my only identity- I hated them. Twenty-five months later, I can say with confidence I am embracing my journey. I have learned to love my past, and stay open-minded. Just because I can’t run as fast, kick a ball as hard, or jump as high, doesn’t mean I wasn’t once a soccer player. My identity lives on and is getting thicker layer-by-layer. So I’ll leave you with this – my name is Brekken Fukushima, a senior at Creighton University, former soccer player, and a girl who is excited about a bright future outside of her own soccer identity.