My name is Carly Teichman and I just graduated from Incarnate Word Academy High School in Corpus Christi, Texas. I played soccer growing up and soon enough, I realized my dream of playing collegiate soccer. I had trouble with my ankle in fourth grade, but an orthotic and ankle brace fixed that problem for the time being. In eighth grade I was playing in a scrimmage when the defender attempted to slide tackle, completely missing the ball and plowing straight into my bad ankle. After being told it was a sprain, I took some time off and got back on the field just a few short weeks later. When the pain persisted, I went to consult an orthopedic surgeon. During Thanksgiving break of my freshman year of high school I underwent my first surgery, which was minimally invasive. Shortly after, I begun physical therapy and started running. Flash forward a few weeks and I’m diagnosed with stress fractures of three different bones in the foot and ankle, and put back into a cast. At this point, I went back to my original podiatrist for help. My sophomore year he finally figured out that the problem wouldn’t go away because I have an inch and a half leg length discrepancy, meaning my right leg was an inch and a half longer than my left. When he found this out, he sent me to my current surgeon. There I was fitted for new orthotics, given shoe lifts to even out my legs, and a year and a half later I had a major surgery. In order to correct the damage done over the past 17 years of my life, my heel was broken and moved inward in an effort to realign my foot. This major surgery, along with procedures on both my calf and ankle tendons to support my newly aligned foot, happened on December 21, 2017. After that I suffered months of excruciating physical pain, and even worse emotional trauma. I was told over and over again by doctors and literally everyone around me that I would never run again, and never in a million years would I step foot back on the soccer field. I felt lost and alone for four long years of my life. Since this happened from ages 13 to 17, sadly they were very developmental years of my life. I was told time and time again that I was faking or just not trying hard enough to get better. After my second surgery when pain persisted, I was terrified that this surgery was not successful, since I had already experienced that with my first procedure. At this point, I sunk into a dark time of depression and self pity, wondering “Why me?” Through the pain, I continued physical therapy hoping for a full recovery. Fast forward to October 31, 2018 and I am fully cleared. I then joined my school’s soccer team after about five years of being away from the game, and finished the season as First Team All-District Goalkeeper. I am proof that if you set your mind to something, no matter what anyone else says, if you believe in yourself anything is possible. Throughout this very dark time in my life, my physical therapist was the only person to believe that I would ever run or play soccer again, even when I didn’t believe in myself. Although I will not be playing soccer in college, as a result of my medical journey and the wonderful medical team I had along side me through it all, I will be attending Texas A&M in the fall and studying Biomedical Sciences with the end goal of becoming a foot and ankle surgeon to help people just like me. I now have six scars on my right foot/leg, and they are a daily reminder of the adversity I overcame. You are not alone in this journey, and the most important part of recovery is to believe in yourself. Wear your scars with pride because they are a lifelong symbol of the pain and darkness you endured and overcame.