Softball player returns after famous surgery
Friday, September 14, 2007
By Tracy Washam
Katie Stanyan feels lucky to be playing for the Lady Eagles this fall.
One year ago, the infielder did not know if she would ever be able to
Last fall, Stanyan injured her arm diving for a ball in practice.
Doctors told Stanyan her injury would require Tommy John surgery, and
she would be out of action for at least a season, if not longer.
“When I heard I had injured myself bad enough to have surgery, I was
really bummed and kind of scared. I had never had surgery before and
didn’t know what to expect,” Stanyan said. “I was even more upset at
the fact that I wouldn’t be able to play ball until the next year.”
Ulner collateral ligament replacement surgery, often called Tommy
John surgery, gets its name from the Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher who
first underwent the surgery. Outside of baseball players the injury is
fairly uncommon and often goes undiagnosed since the injury usually
affects only performance.
“Like any athlete, I was trying to make a play in practice and wasn’t really thinking about what could happen,” Stanyan said.
After diving for a ball Stanyan lay on the ground with her elbow in
pain, unable to move it. Head Softball Coach Tom Heath, along with
Assistant Coach Steve Gault, ran out to check on their player.
“At first, I didn’t know what she had injured,” Heath said. “Injuries
occur all the time in sports, but all you can do is just hope it’s
nothing serious. In Katie’s case, it was.”
Athletic trainers took Stanyan to the hospital and she eventually
had an X-ray. After hearing she had ruptured the ligaments in her
elbow, Stanyan could only accept it, have the required surgery and
start the recovery process.
After the surgery in February, Stanyan had a very quick recovery which surprised her doctor.
“I recovered really well and the trainers kept telling me they
couldn’t believe how text book my recovery was, which isn’t always the
case with a lot of injuries. So I felt really lucky to heal so
quickly,” Stanyan said.
Typically from the time a player has surgery, it takes a minimum of
eight months to resume any athletic activities. While they can return
in about a year, the first year usually proves difficult. Full recovery
to pre-surgical strength and success usually takes 18 to 24 months.
Senior pitcher Linzi Farris stood in a similar position as Stanyan
her freshman year. She underwent shoulder surgery after injuring her
arm in a van accident.
“Katie has really been working hard in practices, and you can tell she isn’t letting her arm affect her,” Farris said.
Stanyan finished the 2007 season as a red shirt and returns this
year for her sophomore season. Although Stanyan completed her rehab
training, she must wear a brace during all athletic activity for safety
“Katie is a tough girl. It’s never a good thing when a player gets
injured, but we weren’t worried about her recovery. She’s hard working,
and she’s back and ready to play for us this season,” Heath said.
Photo by Brittany Merideth