Matt Habrowski


My name is Matt Habrowski and I am a former Notre Dame soccer player. Early on during my time at Notre Dame I developed problems with my lower legs in the form of chronic shin splints. After suffering through a few years of terrible pain in my legs (pain which caused other injuries during my career as well), I finally was diagnosed with medial tibial stress syndrome and decided on surgery after my senior season to alleviate my pain and frustration. My surgery consisted of two compartment releases in my calves and scraping away the facial tissue along my shins. I spent 3 weeks on crutches wearing special boots that filled with cold water to help ice my shins. It was debilitating and the pain during these first three weeks was unbearable at times. It was a frustrating yet humbling experience to be so reliant on other during this time, which is something I can appreciate now. The road to recovery should’ve lasted about 8 weeks but one of my wounds became infected which led to a delay of nearly another 2 months. I visited the wound care center in the hospital on a weekly basis and watched the size of the scar on my right leg continue to increase during the process. Besides the pain, I was missing out on the spring season heading into my fifth year the following fall. It was challenging to feel like part of the team when I had to watch from the sidelines or miss practices and games due to rehab. This time gave me opportunities to grow in other ways, though, because I was able to grow relationships with teammates off the field and serve as a mentor to younger players. The scar on my right leg, while unsightly, serves as a reminder to me about the pain I went through but I have grown to appreciate it as a part of me. The scar now brings happy memories because I feel free from my past pain and was finally able to enjoy playing soccer again.

Bailey Cartwright