My name is Ellie Richards and I am a Junior on the Notre Dame Softball team. I stand behind the fact that an injury will make one stronger, both physically and mentally. My work ethic is because of the three ACL surgeries I have overcome. The first one happened when I was a 7th grader playing basketball. This was just a bump in the road. Sophomore year basketball season comes around and the third game in, I went down. This time it was my right knee that gave out. Knowing the feeling of an ACL tear, I had a feeling the MRI result would not be good, and I was right. Once again, I was ready for the challenge. My dream was to play division I softball, so while I missed my sophomore season, I did whatever I could to be back playing. I played junior and senior season, but one of my last games senior year, it happened again. Life was throwing me another curveball. I tore my ACL and meniscus again, and was having to face another surgery. I have never been more angry at myself. Why would this happen to me again, for a third time? The thought of whether to fulfill my dream and play division I softball lingered. Once again, I did not give up and I attended Notre Dame to play Softball for the Irish. It has been the best choice I have made
Today, I play for my teammates - they are what keep me going. If it wasn’t for the support system I have back home and at Notre Dame, I would not be here. From the hundreds of hours spent in the training and weight room, I will forever be a hard worker. Even after shitty days and mental breakdowns that come with injuries, I would not trade this journey for anything. My scars are not ugly, but rather a reminder of everything I have been through. I have learned to appreciate the little things in life and to always look at the glass half full. This road has allowed me to understand the importance of always pushing myself and to never give up. I am forever thankful.