On Monday, I was given permission by the team athletic trainer to skate in half of my gear; which included my all my lower body equipment.
No words can really describe the emotions that ran through my body when I took the first step onto the ice in over a year with more than just skates on my feet. This was the first time where I have ever cried on the ice, purely because the joy was so overpowering.
Chills ran through my body, from head to toe. I am finally on the right track, almost back to playing the game I love – pain free.
On Thursday afternoon I met with the surgeon and he said he was rather impressed with my progress and was glad to see that both of my hips were nearly equal in strength and mobility. One thing I have learned through the rehabbing process is that working on my flexibility will be what brings me back to the highest level possible. I was also cleared to start building up to running again, which is something I cannot wait to have back in my life.
On Sunday morning at 5am, we leave for Spring Break vacation – at this point I think it is well needed by the girls. We have had a long year that has thrown us curve balls left and right. I think we need to get away from Columbus for a little while and come back refreshed and tan of course. We will be going to Fort Lauderdale again this year and I’m excited to soak up the sun with 13 teammates. I am very fortunate to go to a school where I have teammates that are also some of my best friends.
As an athlete, you learn a lot about yourself when you are withdrawn from the one thing you have dedicated years of hard work and training to. It has been about 330 days since I last played a hockey game. Through these 330 long days, I have learned so much off of the ice surface.
Hockey is a privilege – by this I mean that it’s easy to take something that you’ve been doing everyday since you were three years old for granted. It becomes such a routine that sometimes, you forget to cherish it. Every day I get to lace my skates up in the future, I know I will wear my heart on my sleeve.
Rehab is important – in order to get back to where I was prior to my injuries, it is crucial that I spend time making myself better. It will not just happen, I have to make it happen.
Appreciating the women’s game – until I was 15 years old I played boys hockey at the highest level. Coming in, this was hard. I always appreciated hockey but had to learn a lot when I switched over. Being in the stands and watching these talented athletes perform at the highest level has truly grown my appreciation for the women’s game
Players tendencies – being in the stands has given me the opportunity to be a student of the game. Every time I watch my team play, I pay attention to the other teams players and what they tend to do in the offensive and defensive zone.
This is definitely just a small list of things I have learned being out of the game and I’m sure I’ll continue to build more life skills and desirable qualities before I see the ice again.
I am a strong believer that one of the reasons why I am still sane after this rollercoaster ride of a year is because of the support of my parents. From day one, they have pushed me to do what was right for my body (in the long run). As much as they hate to see me out of the game for so long, they are parents and they care about my quality of life after I hang the skates up. Without them, I would be an emotional train wreck. I know on days where I miss the game a little more than others, they are just a phone call or text away. I truly appreciate everything they have done for me. All the years they have dedicated. When I step back on to the ice, I will play for them. They have always believed in me, which has resulted in me believing in myself.
A saying I’ve heard a lot growing up is “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone,” truth is, I knew what I had, I had it good. I had hockey everyday. I ate, slept and breathed hockey. For now though, I do not have this amazing sport to rely on for a part of my happiness. I only have the idea and memories of it until my body makes a full recovery.
On February 28th, 2015, I played my last hockey game before I had both my right and my left labrums in my hips repaired. I think having hockey taken away from me was one of the best things that has ever happened to me, but also one of the worst. Out of no where, I went from being able to play the sport I loved, pain free, to playing the sport I loved with miserable amounts of pain. I think having hockey briefly taken away from me for almost a year has made me come to terms with the fact that I will never be someone who can live without this beautiful sport I’ve been blessed with. First and foremost, at the end of the day, I have way too much energy. There isn’t much I can do to burn this energy either because I haven’t been cleared to run. So I lay in bed wide awake staring at the ceiling until I finally get tired. Secondly, I really miss the big time game moments, the celebrations, the ups and downs, and being able to mix a little bit of swag into my day. I feel like being a goalie is one of my identities and I miss that Kassidy, the one who fell in love with having pucks shot at her since the age of 5. Lastly, I’m terrified of the unknown. Maybe I’ll make a full recovery and never be in pain again or maybe I’ll still be in pain every time I touch the ice. I have no idea – there’s no way of testing it out either. Now, for the reason why I said it was one of the best things… I will never complain about being tired, fed up, or even think about being lazy during hockey again in my life. Because the most tiring, boring and lazy thing I’ve ever done is sit on the bench in the freezing cold and watch practice. It is brutal to be just a couple feet away from the ice but still be so incapable of touching it. I will adore hockey with so much more now. I believe that with all my heart, being taken out and stepping back to analyze this has made me realize that hockey has been my life since I was just a kid and without it, I’m only half of me. Life off of the ice rink is half as sunny, half as exciting and only holds half of my memories. I believe that I will be a force to be reckoned with when I am fully healthy and ready to compete. But for now, I focus on my rehabilitation, strength (both mentally and physically) and every so often I visualize myself playing the game, just to build up some excitement for the years to come.
Lastly, I’m hoping for the best for my team in the second half of our season. My teammates are unbelievable human beings and I am honoured to have them by my side through thick and thin. I pray that this season is to only go up hill from here on our. Go bucks 🙂
For the first time in well over six months, I am cleared to start running today. Although I won’t be running too far or too fast, this is yet another sign that this hip surgery was worth it. I have become so much stronger around my hips then I ever have been. To lead up to my first attempt to run today, I have been doing underwater treadmill training and trampoline running! I’m excited to see what it feels like to run again!
I meet back with my Surgeon, Dr. Ryan this coming Thursday, October 22nd to find out if I’m allowed to get back into full hockey equipment. This has been a really long process but has been worth every pain free minute!
This weekend that just passed my team played at home, it was great to be with the girls all weekend (as injured players do not travel). Our staff has me using a program to time shift lengths which definitely helps to give me a role on the team! I’m excited to continue watching my team get stronger and better.
I’ve been at school for just over three weeks now and it’s been a great time. We’ve trained a LOT, and it’s an amazing feeling to get back at it with only a few restrictions from my surgery. Although I’m not allowed to run, I can bike a ton and despite not being able to skate with my gear on, I did get back on the ice last week for the first time in over 6 months and it was the most rewarding feeling.
This week, I’ll be starting aquatic training on the underwater treadmill, to relearn how to run without putting stress on my hip. Then hopefully within a couple weeks ill be running/sprinting with my team again.
Our season starts on October 2nd, on the road at Lindenwood University, I know the girls are super excited to start playing in games again – it feels like it’s been forever. The following weekend, we play Wisconsin, in Wisconsin, marking our first WCHA game of the 2015-2016 season.
I was suppose to leave on Saturday and drive back to Columbus, but I ended up finding a cheap flight back so I condensed all my items into two bags and booked the flight (I will tell you, it was hard to pick which pieces of clothing and shoes to leave home for now). I will get into Columbus around 6pm today.
I am terribly excited to get back and see all my teammates and friends again, but I must say I will miss home. The weird part about leaving today is that it was the the last time I will live in the house that I currently live in as my parents are moving. My parents, I will miss them dearly, as well as my brother. Summer spent with them was time well spent. I can’t wait to see them in a month or so and I’m already counting down the days. Thanks to my friends at home for making summer very memorable. I will miss you all and can’t wait to regroup in December!
This summer went by pretty fast; bitter sweet. A week from today, I’ll be heading back to Columbus for the school year. I’m excited to see all the girls again, as well as friends, but I will miss my family and friends at home really bad too. My hip is doing well, although I was cleared to run and skate (without fear of re-injury), Dr. Ryan suggested holding off until I was back on campus so I could be monitored by Paul (our team trainer) and himself. I think this is a good idea as extra time off running and skating will do me no harm!
In my last week at home for the summer, I plan on shopping, relaxing and rehabbing still.