A sports injury can be devastating for anyone, but especially for a rising high school senior. This was the reality for Jessie, a multi-sport senior athlete at Narragansett High School. After a softball injury, she was left unsure if she’d be able to participate in her senior soccer season. But her motivation and hard work paid off as she was able to meet her goals. By the end of the soccer season, she received many awards including RIGSCA Division 3 All-State, Alice Sullivan Perseverance Award, All Academic Award, and All-Star Soccer Game Representative for Narragansett High School.
What Brought Her to Physical Therapy
Only two weeks into her softball season, Jessie sustained an injury that would keep her off the field for the rest of the season. A player from the opposing team stepped on her foot, and that collision broke her tibia. Jessie knew this was more than a sprain or twist, so she immediately went to the hospital. What made her situation a bit more complicated was that she was ready to go on a school trip to Spain just a few days after the incident, so she would have to wait until she returned for surgery and use crutches on the trip.
How Injury Shaped Her Identity
Since she had played soccer and softball for so many years of her life, her status as an athlete played a role in her identity. But when she sustained her injury, she had to come to terms with watching her teammates play instead of playing alongside them. This newfound free time came with anxiety and restlessness, but it motivated her to take her recovery seriously.
She knew that she would have to be intentional about her recovery if she wanted to play in her senior soccer season. After playing with many of the same girls for most of their lives, it was the last time for them to play as a team, and Jessie wasn’t going to miss that for anything.
“Jessie has always been very dedicated and a hard worker…being in PT was no different. She put in so much effort and always gave it her all, even when it got difficult,” said Dr. Erica Manchester. “Even in the summer when everyone is laying around on the beach, she did everything she needed to do to come back and play for her senior year. Winning all those awards just shows so much about her character and determination.”
Physical Therapy is a Team Effort
As soon as Jessie was taken to the hospital, her team knew that they had to kick it up a notch and win the game for Jessie. They went from losing by 3 to winning the game by 8 points! This type of comradery helped Jessie to feel like she was still a part of the team, even when she was cheering them on from the sidelines.
Dr. Erica Manchester PT, DPT is a soccer player herself and understood how missing the first 4 weeks of her senior soccer season could impact Jessie’s mental health.
“Erica is fantastic! She was my Assistant Coach for middle school soccer, so she knew what I had to do to get back on the field. She pushed me to get to the point where I am. From day one, she pushed me and watched the progress I made. The connection with Erica really helped me to stay motivated so I could play again.”
Jessie’s Best Piece of Advice
After meeting her goal and playing her senior soccer season, Jessie feels so grateful for everything she learned in physical therapy and how invested the team at Performance Physical Therapy was throughout her journey back to the field. Her best advice for athletes who are dealing with an injury is to go to physical therapy immediately because it’s their best chance at a quicker recovery.
“It’s tough being injured, but it teaches you something along the way, like perseverance working through an injury – both physically and mentally. It’s a long process but you have to keep moving forward. Sometimes it seems like you aren’t moving forward, but you actually are! You have to think back to the first day and remember that it does get better.”
If you’re an athlete who is dealing with an injury or wants to improve your athletic performance, physical therapy can help you reach your goals. Contact Highbar at 401.726.7100 to schedule an appointment with an experienced physical therapist.