A Dangerous Game: Several volleyball players face setbacks from injuries; players share details, road to recovery

Matt Antonic, Sports Editor

A Torn ACL:
Summer volleyball camp is supposed to be a fun time for volleyball players, who work themselves back into form for the upcoming season. But for varsity player senior Aubrey Jeffries, an injury put an end to her promising season before it really got started. The first game of the camp turned out to be the only volleyball action Jeffries would see all season, as she was struck by a devastating tear to her Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL).
“We were playing in our first game,” she said. “I went up to hit a ball, and I only landed on my left leg. I just kind of landed wrong. It literally just popped four or five times.”
The ACL is one of four ligaments supporting the human knee. A tear or separation can be devastating, usually ending an athlete’s season. Unfortunately, this was also to be the case for Jeffries. Most ACL tears require some sort of surgical procedure. Jeffries had an arthroscopic procedure, in which a doctor inserted an endoscope through a small incision to perform reconstruction.
“The doctor didn’t have to cut my knee open entirely,” she said. “He did most of it with scopes and what-not. The two ends of my ACL that were broken apart were removed, and the new one was put in as graft.”
Grafting is a procedure when tissue is taken from one part of the body and placed in another part for a different use.
“I had my graft taken from my patellar tendon and was reshaped in the form of my ACL,” she said.
Jeffries had a successful procedure and has now moved on to the recovery phase with stretches for her quads, hamstring and calves.
“I have been in physical therapy since two days after my surgery,” she said. “I had surgery June 26, and I have now been cleared to run and do weight-bearing activities.”

A Ruptured Appendix:
During an August volleyball practice, varsity player senior Chloe Rogers began to feel an uncomfortable pain in her abdomen. The pain bothered her, but she couldn’t figure out what it was. She visited doctors, but none of them could figure out the real problem.
“[The doctors] thought it was an ulcer,” Rogers said. “Nobody could figure out what it really was.”
But the injury was no ulcer — Rogers’ appendix had ruptured without anyone knowing. The appendix is a small pouch hanging off of the intestines that serves as a safe house for good bacteria. An infection in the appendix area causes it to become inflamed, and, if left untreated, it can rupture. The doctors finally realized the problem and quickly made up their minds to perform an emergency appendectomy, a procedure where the appendix is removed permanently.
“They had to take my appendix and part of my colon out, and I was in the hospital for a week,” Rogers said.
For Rogers, the early August practice season became a nightmare.
“The pain just came out of nowhere, and I was in pain for about a month,” Rogers said.
Appendectomies often cause athletes, to be immobilized for a prolonged period of time. Rogers was able to make a successful recovery and rejoined the starting team in late September.
“I couldn’t do much for a week except just walk around my neighborhood, and I just kind of gradually got back into volleyball,” she said.

A Broken Finger: 
Having an 150-pound car door slammed against the left hand in the middle of volleyball season is not an ideal scenario for any athlete to have to go through. But for varsity player sophomore Liz Allen, it became a painful reality when the accidental shutting of a trunk door left her middle finger broken and in screaming pain.
“ I was bending over and I kind of leaned up against the car, right where the door shuts. The door accidentally got closed on my hand. It was a ton of pain to be in.”
Despite the circumstances, Allen was fortunate her dominant hand was not hurt, and she would be  able to recover more quickly.
“[The injury] was with my left hand, and I am right-handed, so it was just setting and blocking that I couldn’t really do,” she said.
After she was cleared to return, her finger was not fully healed but had strong enough that she could play with a protective casing around her finger cast. However, in one incident,  referees wouldn’t let her wear the cast case during a game.
“I had a cast to wear with a plastic covering for protection, and they made me take the case off because they said I was using it to my advantage,” she said. “It was annoying because my finger had not all the way healed, and it still hurts.”
Allen had to sit out for a period of three weeks before being cleared, a relief for the team that has suffered a rash of injuries, Allen has been able to get back into volleyball, and her finger has seen improvement.
“My finger is not fully healed yet, but it will be fine in a few weeks,” she said.