Conditions + Treatments
ACL Tear #1
Soccer has always been a part of my life as long as I can remember. A college soccer scholarship was always a dream then finally a reality. After a coaching change at Mississippi State University, I reopened my recruitment. In the process, I stumbled upon Samford University and fell in love with the university and soccer program, eventually committing my senior year of high school. A place where I knew I could grow as a student-athlete as well as in my faith.
In one of my first games senior year of high school, I tore my left ACL. I was devastated and unsure of the future. After surgery, the recovery process led me to having to redshirt my freshman year at Samford. During this process, I started to change my thinking to this is God’s plan. I would come back a stronger player with a deeper faith.
Once sophomore season came around, the opportunity to make a dream became a reality to play in my first collegiate game. A year of recovery and rehab later, I played the game that I poured my time and energy into for years.
ACL Tear #2
After the first week of conference play, we were having a team training session. I went to jump over somebody’s leg to get the ball, and I felt a little something off in my left knee. I got it checked out and everything seemed okay. I felt relieved. To finish a year of recovery to just turn around and re start from scratch was an awful thought in the back of my head.
A few days later at practice I was running and literally just turned, and I felt a pop in my knee. I knew I had torn my left ACL again, but I had to wait for the confirmation. Andrews Sports Medicine was able to order an MRI quickly for me. When the results came back, I dreaded the call preparing to hear my ACL was torn again, but it was officially confirmed.
Devastation hit me immediately, and I began to think, really me again? I never felt like I had a fair chance at being a college athlete, at being able to play college soccer, something I dreamed of; and I knew I wasn't done here. I knew God had me here for a reason, so I kicked it into gear once again.
Within a week of my MRI results, I had my 2nd ACL surgery with Dr. Jeffrey Dugas. During this process, Dr. Dugas was supportive and stayed positive reminding me that through the entire recovery process he would be checking in on me and helping me return to a collegiate level of play.
During this recovery process, I was trying to decide my future career path. After many conversations, Dr. Dugas and other medical professionals helped me discover I wanted to be an athletic trainer. They showed me the ability to play a key role in another athlete’s journey to get back into the field. Through conversations with Dr. Dugas, he made it very known early on that he was there for me as a surgeon and somebody who could lead me in the medical field.
Junior year: Back on the field … and another surgery
After another long recovery process, I was cleared to play again my junior year. The 2020 season had been postponed to the Spring of 2021 then cut shore due to Covid 19. However, I was hit once again with a potential surgery. During the 2020 covid season I had a surgical screw that began to back out. The screw began to cause me some pain, so after discussions with Dr. Dugas and other Andrews Sports Medicine Staff we decided the best decision for my playing career was to remove the screw. With Dr. Dugas’ help the surgery was easy and recovery allowed me to focus on strengthening as a whole and prepare for my senior season.
Senior year: Finally on the field
Finally, my senior year rolled around. It was my time.
After years of physical and mental challenges, everything I had worked for came back into reality again.
As the season started, I felt the readiest I had ever felt for a season during my college career. I knew my knee was strong and ready for one last go. As the season started my role on the field didn’t include much playing time. However, as the season progressed and opportunities presented themselves, I began to finally see all my hard work after 3 surgeries pay off. During my senior season, with a strong knee, thanks to Dr. Dugas and my physical therapists, athletic trainers, and strength coaches at Samford University, I began to have an impact on the field. I was able to compete in 19 games and contribute to a team win in the SoCon semi-final game scoring a game winning goal with about 2 minutes left to play. To round out the season, my teammates and I went on to win a SoCon Tournament Championship and win a first-round Division 1 NCAA Tournament game.
Learn more about Zoë's story here
Video Credit: Samford Sports Marketing team