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Broken wing

Soccer player works to rehabilitate, return to field
Naymond Glover
Senior Kristyn Hernandez last played in the spring of 2023, but she is working to get back on the field with the rest of her team.

Accidents happen all the time. Whether it be tripping in the hallway, dropping your phone, or forgetting homework at your desk, the frequency of accidents is very high. Yet, when it comes to physical accidents and injuries, it’s very hard to get them back to back and still be able to keep going strong.

Senior Kristyn Hernandez has faced injury after injury during her time playing soccer. Last season she tore her ACL and meniscus after having already gone through the recovery process for the same injury on the opposite leg in a previous year.

“When I went down on the field I was upset because I didn’t want to go through the recovery process again,” Kristyn said. “The waiting to get back on the field, the waiting to be able to work out again, the waiting is the worst part of all of it.”

Kristyn was one of the key players on the team, and her absence caused a lot of uncertainty.

“Before Kristyn’s injury last year, she was one of our wings, and she played an important part,” Senior Midfielder Andrea said. “Even though she is small, she always fights through. Without her last year, we had a broken pachuca.”

However, Kristyn’s absence allowed the team to adapt and help newer players gain experience.

“At one point when she was first injured, we had to adjust by figuring out who was going to play in her position,” Andrea said. “Thankfully, the newcomers for this year have stepped up to the role, and many players from the previous season have also stepped up.”

With the team adapting, Kristyn has focused on recovering from her injuries to get back on the field.

“The team has been helping Kristyn to get stronger and recover quickly to try and get her back on the game field as soon as possible,” Soccer Coach Chris Gibson said. “We all  love to have her on the field playing, but we know healing is a process and that we have to take it one step at a time.”

As Kristyn has now had to go through two injuries in a relatively short amount of time, her recovery process has made her more resilient. Through all the pain, Kristyn hasn’t given up.

“There are always going to be roadblocks and detours someone has to take to reach certain goals,” Gibson said. “Don’t just throw your hands up and give up. You may have to step back and reassess the situation before you can go forward. This doesn’t mean your goals can’t be reached or obtained, but it just may not happen as quickly or easily as you thought.  You always have to be prepared for taking the longer, harder path, and that is what Kristyn is willing to do.”

Gibson said that the team wants to let Kristyn know that the process of recovery happens one day at a time. The team does not want her to rush the healing process and possibly make things worse.

“Constant encouragement has been the number one priority,” Gibson said. “Making sure Kristyn is prepared mentally for whatever the doctor says each time she goes is important to her recovery.”

Despite being on the sidelines, Kristyn has been made to make a positive impact on the team.

“Kristyn has done a great job of showing up and working as hard as she can with whatever limitations she has been given by her doctors,” Gibson said. “She continues to be a great source of support and cheerleading on the sideline and is a part of the team regardless of where she is at in her recovery process.”

With support from her coach, Kristyn has been able to garner support from her team and continue to have a lifeline during the recovery. 

I think unconditional support goes both ways,” Andrea said. “We have been supporting her, but she has been supporting us on the field too. The team always includes her in everything we do no matter what. She always comes to practice even if she just sits on the bench, she’s always supporting us.”

Even though Kristyn is only allowed to do light work on the field during practice, the team has enjoyed having her there with them and keeping an eye on her to make sure she does not push herself too hard.

“Kristyn’s attitude has motivated the team because we see how much she has supported us even though she hasn’t been able to play,” Andrea said. “When you see someone keep giving even after an injury, it pushes us to give all we have.”

Though the past two seasons have been difficult for Kristyn she has learned several lessons that she will take with her into the future.

“Never take anything for granted,” Kristyn said. ”It takes time to recover, and it is a difficult road back, so you have to work at it.”

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Elijah Cruz, Staff Writer
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