On March 13 of senior pitcher Kindra Henze’s final season as a Bulldog, Henze suffered an injury.
Henze faced a serious setback and an improbable comeback. It was an exciting day as the finale to a doubleheader against conference opponent McKendree University went to extra innings. But rather than excitement, the eighth and final inning brought a different kind of emotion for the Truman State softball team.
After releasing a routine pitch, the team watched as its 2-time All-Conference pitcher went down in pain, left the game and was evaluated for her injury. The result was a torn ACL — a potential season-ender for the senior.
Truman athletic trainer Cassie DeBlauw says the anterior cruciate ligament is one of the main sources of stability in the knee. DeBlauw says the ACL prevents the tibia from moving forward — a necessity for competitive athletics.
DeBlauw has worked with Henze throughout the rehabilitation process and says she is proud to credit Henze’s successful comeback to hard work in the athletic training clinic and on the field.
Deblauw says rehab for the ligament is extensive and tedious, often requiring surgery and 6-9 months of post-op recovery, but with her senior season on the line, Henze did not have the luxury of time.
“The pain was the first thing that registered in my mind,” Henze says. “It was intense, and at first that’s all I could really think about. Once [the trainers] were able to get me off the field and into the dugout, that’s when it became more real. I saw my season flash before my eyes. My senior year felt like it was over right there.”
Henze says she struggled to grasp the reality of the situation at first, and with the ACL injury’s track record for ending athletic seasons, Henze says she doubted the possibility of overcoming the injury. Henze says a lot of people reached out to her following the injury, but many of them told her she couldn’t or shouldn’t go back and finish her final season.
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