Growing up, sports were my passion. I used it as an outlet for when I was stressed with school, things going on, or even just to escape the world. My granddad use to say “Children with long fingers will play piano or play sports”. Well I took the sports route and loved every minute of it. I started out playing soccer and t-ball at the age of six. Then played softball, basketball, and even baseball. You read that right…I played baseball with a bunch of boys. In today’s age its almost taboo to play a male sport because “it’s not right”, but I was treated as a human being and not a girl. To me and my teammates, it was just a sport and a game where we could have fun. We did not think about “oh my word she is a girl…”. If you asked me what my favorite sport was growing up, it would probably be softball. The smell of fresh cut grass, the adrenaline from trying to steal home when the game is tied at the bottom of the 9th, and learning all the chants to cheer on and intimidate the other team. Probably my favorite cheer was “The cops are coming the cops are coming. She stole a base. She stole a base”. These cheers were the way my team bonded. As I moved to high school ball, it went from “what cheer are we going to do” to “Hey do you think this will be a good walkout song”.
Sports was my way of expressing myself. Its how I found myself and what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. To me sports was a way to bond with people who some I eventually called my good friends. I learned discipline, time management, and academic success. If it was not for my coaches holding us to a higher standard, I do not think I would have the work ethic I have for good grades like I do now. They always taught us that there is a reason why the word student came first in the title “student athlete”. Academics were to always come first before practice and games.
Remember earlier when I said sports also taught me what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I always knew I wanted to stay around athletics, and one way I can do that was to become a teacher. If you are a teacher you could also coach, but also I have a passion for helping others, This passion for helping others made me desire for a career in the medical field.
My freshman year in high school, I was practicing with my high school basketball team when I went to pass the ball I pivoted and felt a pop in my knee. We were not sure what was wrong and because I could not see a doctor quickly, I missed the rest of summer practices. It was not until a month or two months after my initial injury we had the final diagnosis of what really happened to my knee. I tore my lateral meniscus. Thankfully that was the only thing that was damaged in my injury. We worried it was my ACL which would require a longer recovery period, causing me to miss more than just basketball season. My meniscus was damaged enough that the orthopedic who saw me said it would be in my best interest to remove the part of my meniscus that was damaged. I had surgery a few weeks after this appointment and was walking on it without crutches a week after. Once I was released from the orthopedic about 4-5 weeks later, I started back to the thing that brought me the most joy which was softball and basketball at the time.
After my return, I met a lady who introduced me to the profession I wanted to study and do for the rest of my life. She was our Athletic Trainer and she showed me I could have the best of both worlds. I could enter the medical field and help others while also being around athletics. Athletic Trainers are medical professionals who prevent, treat, and rehabilitate injuries. Athletic Trainers are the people you see on the sidelines of sporting events keeping the athletes safe and healthy. My athletic trainer showed me ways to prevent further damage to my knee and what I can do at home to get back to playing the sport I loved just a little bit faster. Little did she know, she opened my eyes to a profession I would have never known about if I had not injured my knee. It was a blessing in disguise. I may had missed out on the thing that brought me happiness for a few months, but I found joy in something that I know I will enjoy for the rest of my career.