Basketball player makes new start after injury

It is every athlete’s worst nightmare to hear a pop while competing.

Sophomore Taylor Solomon has come a long way since injuring her ACL and meniscus during a game halfway into her senior season of high school in Kirkland, Wash. After a year and a half of rest, Solomon joins her teammates on the basketball court as the Wildcats begin their 2012-13 season.

On Jan. 11, 2011, during an away game against Mercer Island High School, Solomon went up for a rebound against a Tropical Warrior opponent and the next thing she knew she heard a pop.

“I knew it wasn’t good,” Solomon said. “I got up really fast and tried to shake it off and keep playing. My knee was too unstable to even walk. They brought me to the side, gave me ice and encouraged me to sit out for the rest of the game. I was worried about sitting out that game, but it turns out I had to sit out the rest of the season.”

After receiving multiple x-rays and MRI’s, it was determined that her meniscus and ACL were torn. The news was heartbreaking for Solomon, who had dedicated so much time and effort to basketball.

“The next few months were the toughest times I’ve ever had,” Solomon said. “I was upset all the time and just listened to music. I didn’t really talk to many people either. My surgery was around finals, so I didn’t really study for finals. It was definitely a rough period.”

Luckily, Solomon had encouraging parents, teammates and friends around her to keep her optimistic about bouncing back from her injuries and the future of her basketball career.

One especially big factor during this time was college. After catching word of Solomon’s injury, Whitman College’s head women’s basketball coach dropped her from consideration. Prior to her injury, Whitman was her number one school. However, Linfield’s coach, Robin Potera-Haskins, stuck around.

“Coach was very encouraging,” Solomon said. “She told me I would be back in no time, and I believed her, considering how many injuries she told me she had dealt with. She always made me happier and gave me reassurance that I would be able to play.”

In the fall of 2011 after months of physical therapy, Solomon, along with the returning team and incoming freshman players, participated in a basketball activity class every evening. Rather than competing like the other players as she had planned, Solomon was unable to run up and down the court and was forced to stand on the sidelines and work on her jump-shot.

Eventually, a few weeks into the season and six months after her surgery, her surgeon cleared her to play over the phone. Her knee began to bother her. She knew it was not worth risking another injury, so she decided to sit out and rest for another year.

This was a difficult time for Solomon yet again. She always imagined herself playing basketball her freshman year of college. Coach stayed positive and reminded Solomon that she would recover from this injury.

“I’m really lucky to have Coach,” Solomon said. “Ever since I have been here, she has been excited for me to eventually come back. She has been supportive and present through everything. I am sure a lot of college coaches would have moved on to the next person, and I am appreciative that she hasn’t.”

Solomon’s love for basketball prevailed over the injuries she was faced with.

During the summer after her freshman year, she got a membership at a gym near her house and made a point to go everyday. She shot for at least an hour everyday, lifted weights and trained with a male basketball player from her high school. She started running more and even pushed herself to do suicides on her own.

“Taylor is very dedicated to basketball,” sophomore Kelly Watanabe said. “I applaud her for her hard work and effort, and I know that it wasn’t easy for her to come back off of this injury. She has really pulled through and done a good job at putting her best effort into getting back into the game.”

Watanabe now cheers Solomon on from the bleachers, as she has joined her teammates in the handful of scrimmages the team has competed in.

“Everything happens for a reason,” Solomon said. “I believe that even after this injury, since I have come back, I know that even through hard times you can get back into things if you put your mind to it. It is important to have perseverance because anyone could have given up after an injury like that.”

Solomon now looks forward to what the future and season has in store for her as she begins her first season of play with freshman eligibility.

“I am excited for the season,” she said. “First, because it is my first year playing college basketball, and second, because I’ve been dying to play in a game since my injury. I am excited for this year and this season because we have a lot of girls and are very talented. The ultimate goal is to put a banner in the gym.”

After watching her high school team lose every game except one after becoming injured, Solomon looks forward to hopefully being a part of a winning season.

 

Sarah Mason

Staff writer

Sarah Mason can be reached at

linfieldreviewsports@gmail.com.

Kate Straube/Photo editor

 

Sophomore Taylor Solomon plays on the women’s basketball team. Solomon spent last season red-shirting after tearing her ACL and meniscus
during her senior year in high school. She is now starting out the season with her team and has been showing promise on the court during preseason scrimmages. She will soon play her first official game Nov. 17 at Occidental College.

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