I started playing volleyball at the age of 12 and have been playing the sport ever since.
Unfortunately, nothing has come easy for me on the volleyball court the last few years, but that has not stopped me from making the most of my chances.
The first sign of trouble came when I sprained my left ankle in January,2015 during the club season of my sophomore year at Spain Park High School.
Dr. Norman Waldrop told me I eventually would need surgery, but he was going to let me finish out high school. I rehabbed it with Marc Bernier, with Encore, and came back playing that summer.
To add insult to injury, or more literally injury to injury, I suffered another setback the same week. After already being restricted to upper body workouts, I failed to follow proper procedure after a repetition in the weight room, and my right ring finger was smashed between two dumbbells.
A quick trip to the doctor who repaired the fracture, and stitched it up right then and there. I was totally out of commission for a brief time.
After rehab, I was ready to step onto the court last fall (2015) as a vital contributor for the Jags. I had my ankle taped up and a brace on top of that. But that was not enough to prevent it from happening again.
Our setter set me far out towards the pole, and I went up and jumped and wasn’t really paying attention to the pole, and when I came down, my ankle landed sideways on it. Just like that, I injured my ankle again, this time worse than the initial sprain.
In an unusual move, Dr. Ellerbusch casted my ankle for a week, then transitioned me to a boot. With a season still ongoing, surgery was not an option in my mind. I was willing to do whatever it took to get back on the court and finish out the season.
After a few more weeks of rehab, I slowly eased my way back into practices, and found myself back on the court on Oct. 2, 2015. Although not near full strength, I wanted to do whatever I could to contribute.
Honestly, I was a little scared to be playing, because I kind of had that surgery in the back of my mind. We already had it set up. I knew it was coming.
Before the injuries, I was a right-side hitter for the Jags, but without the ability to jump in my compromised state, I played on the back row for the remainder of the season.
My playing time was brief, jumping in when needed. But when the Class 7A, Area 6 tournament came around, my services were required in a big way. Our team (Spain Park) and Vestavia Hills went down to the wire in a five-set match, and I summoned the strength to play the majority of the night. That was definitely a tough match, but I was able to come in and play and that was straight adrenaline.
I had surgery with Dr. Norman Waldrop right after the season on November 11, 2015. Dr. Waldrop performed an ankle arthroscopy and debridement, lateral ligament repair and peroneal tenosynovectomy. I endured the long road back with 6 months of rehab, which I completed in the spring, and felt back to full strength.
It was definitely a long process, but my ankle feels better than it ever has! This past 2016 fall season, I was back on the right side, playing my normal position. There is a catch to that occasionally, though. All season, when I played on the outside, or if there was a rotation where I had to hit outside, if set too far out, I didn’t jump near the pole. I'd usually just stay on the ground and try to get the ball over. Other than that, I felt like my volleyball skills were back and I contributed to the Lady Jags this season.
Overall, our Spain Park High School team had a successful 2016 season with a 25-16 record and I was excited to be healthy for my senior season. My ankle injury was a very humbling process. I was devastated when I re-injured my ankle just before last season. God definitely used it to teach me a lesson that my plan isn’t ultimately what happens. It’s his plan that ultimately prevails. That’s a valuable lesson I learned. If that’s what it took for me to learn that lesson, then that’s what I’ll take.
Thank you to Dr. Waldrop & his team for their continuing words and time with me. After my surgery, every time I left a post-op, follow-up appointment I felt better than and knew I was on track to recover and be 100% healthy for my 2016 senior season!