There is purpose: It is all about the comeback


By Lexee Brewer

People are shaped by experiences. Several awful injuries are some experiences that impacted me, but what shaped me most is the experience of learning how to come back. A part of healing is learning to put some things behind you so that you can move forward. Being shaped by that experience means that you will never forget the physical or mental pain, but will channel it to make you stronger. I believe in moving on, but not forgetting what I have learned.

I just came back from two surgeries that started with an ACL tear my junior year of high school during basketball season. My team and I were really looking forward to the 2021-22 girls basketball season. I had just finished playing some of the best basketball of my career during the first five games when I landed wrong and couldn’t get up. My knee was done. I had torn my ACL. While the pain in my knee was excruciating, the reality that my basketball season was over hurt even worse. I was angry and depressed and kept replaying it in my mind wondering what I could have done differently to save a year of pain. I had the video of my injury on my phone and I watched it everyday trying to figure out what went wrong. A few months later I was so close to being fully cleared and while I was training, I tore my meniscus. I needed surgery again. I couldn’t believe it. I was going to miss my AAU basketball season and my senior year soccer season too.

The physical pain an injury causes is only part of the damage it does to young athletes. The injury also damages an athlete’s mental health. So much of my identity was wrapped up in being an athlete. My entire day was organized around school and then practices. Many of my friendships existed in moments of long practices and bus rides and games. Even when I was able to go to the games and ride the bus with my team, I felt frustrated that because of my injury I couldn’t help them or be a part of the success. My identity was snatched in an instant and I needed to figure out who I was now that I was injured.

With a lot of work on myself and support from family and friends, I was able to change my mindset. I discovered that I was more than an athlete. I still desperately missed basketball, but I was also able to think about other things too. After a few months passed and I gained even more perspective. I realized it was best to understand that I couldn’t change what had happened. I didn’t delete the video of my injury, but I stopped watching it. I needed to move on from the reason why my injuries happened so that I could continue growing. Moving on from trying to understand it all was the biggest weight off my shoulders.

The comeback from my injury taught me some things. I realized I would never understand why it happened but I could turn it into something good for myself. From the little wins through my recovery, to forever playing with my whole heart when I could finally return to the court- I became a better person. The love of the people who helped me through all of it taught me about the power of connection. By understanding the feeling of being lost and hurt, I am now able to approach the world as a better player and person. I am still discovering ways that my injury has shaped me. Even if it is in ways that others might not notice yet. When I see people on crutches I have so much compassion. When I play against someone in an ACL brace, I know I am playing someone who has earned some mental toughness. I will never forget the pain of my injuries. Many things in life happen that are not in our control. We can’t change the outcome sometimes and that’s often the hardest part. I have been served a few doses of disappointment with these injuries and battled back. I will never allow myself to forget the pain because the pain is necessary for the comeback. Allow the memory of the pain to push you to become the best version of yourself.

Lexee Brewer is a senior at Sidney High School. She is the daughter of Brennan and Jodie Brewer. During her free time she enjoys hanging out with friends and watching Netflix. She was involved in basketball, track, and soccer at the SHS. She plans to continue her basketball career and her education at Ohio Northern University.

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