Lauren Saunee

My name is Lauren Saunee and I am a former University of Notre Dame Rower. I walked on to the rowing team my freshman year and fell in love with the sport. The summer going into my senior year I started experiencing pain in my wrist and numbness in my pinky and ring finger in my right hand. By the time senior year started, the intense burning pain and numbness was getting worse and affecting my everyday life. After I had gone to several doctors and 2 MRIs, we finally decided it was best to do a nerve conduction study. I was diagnosed with cubital tunnel syndrome in my elbow and I had an ulnar nerve transposition surgery September of my senior year. I knew I would have to work hard to rehab and cross train to be able to compete in the spring because the recovery was 3-4 months. I had to wear a custom made brace for 6 weeks with my arm locked at 90 degrees, which made school and other things pretty difficult. Shortly after the first surgery, I started experiencing the same symptoms in my other arm. After another nerve conduction study, I was found to have severe impingement of my left ulnar nerve. I was both devastated and angry that this was happening all over again, especially since I was not fully recovered from the first surgery. This time I tried to put off the surgery until after the season, but we ultimately decided to do the same surgery in my left arm in November. It was uncertain if I was going to be able to compete in my last season. After countless hours in the training room doing rehab and cross training on my own to stay fit for the season, I finally returned to rowing in March. There were many tears, frustrations, and bumps in the road during my recovery, but I did not want to let these setbacks define my happiness and senior season. Thankfully, I made it back just in time for the season and worked my way back into the lineup of the boat I was in the previous year. I came back stronger and faster with a mental fortitude and determination to leave it all on the water once last time. I am so thankful to have competed my last season and to all my teammates, coaches, and especially my trainer who supported me through this journey. The scars I have now are a reminder of the perseverance and accomplishments I experienced my last season of rowing.

Bailey Cartwright