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Summer after freshman year: The first tear

March 2, 2022

I was playing summer Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball for All Iowa Attack. During the fourth quarter, we were up by twelve points and we had six players. I played the whole game, but I got injured bringing the ball up the court. I planted my right leg to pass the ball and felt and heard a loud pop. I just collapsed to the ground clutching my knee and it was locked in place. I couldn’t move it and the trainer had to run on the court as well as the director of my AAU program. They had to straighten my leg out, which was extremely painful, and then I had to be carried off the court.

Emma Ingersoll-Weng ’22 looks to score against Linn-Mar on Dec. 22, 2020. (Owen Aanestad)

I’d never experienced anything like this. I didn’t have a lot of information on anterior circulate ligament (ACL) tears. I felt worried and scared because a lot of my injuries have never been like this. I’ve had a lot of concussions but the recovery time is a week which is not that long. This injury was like, “Oh well I could be out for a year, I could be out for six weeks.” I think I was mentally disturbed and frustrated that all my hard work was going down the drain. I had to be set back 12, 13 months.

It was really hard and painful to miss my sophomore school season. I was supposed to be the starting point-guard as a sophomore, and I had to watch somebody else take on that role. It was really frustrating for me because during my freshman year, I was on and off. I did have varsity starting time, but I didn’t do as well just because of my confidence. It was really, really hard to be out my whole sophomore year. During that time, my ranking dropped a lot and I wasn’t able to get as many college offers. The looks that I had from Division 1 colleges went away because I was out for so long. Due to COVID-19, they stopped recruiting a lot of my graduating class. I wasn’t able to perform and show colleges what I could offer them.

It was heartbreaking to realize I was wrong about my strength.”

— Emma Ingersoll-Weng '22

I shied away from everybody socially after my tear, and I didn’t talk to people on my team. I was a very angry person because I was missing a big opportunity. I had to see all the college coaches come to my teammate’s games and watch them instead of me. I was really happy for them, but at the same time, I was very angry about that. I did not want to be there at all and watch them play. It was very hard to see anybody else on the court.I thought I wasn’t going to get any offers or looks from college coaches, and that I had basically failed myself and my parents because I was the first kid in my family going somewhere and doing something with their life. I felt like I ruined that chance I had. I thought it was my fault even though it wasn’t. 

After I recovered from my first ACL tear, I had to work on my confidence and not being so worried about re-injuring it. I just had to go out on the court and have fun. I was still worried about re-tearing it, but I felt more sure of myself just because of how hard I had worked in the off-season and while being injured. I felt like I was more confident and wasn’t at risk for injury because I made myself stronger.

It was heartbreaking to realize I was wrong about my strength. Re-injury was gonna happen either way just because my joints are looser compared to others. 

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