Audrey Bowen on ACL injury, how she bounced back
Audrey Bowen is a senior at ARHS, who, like many students, faces an injury that sets her back as an athlete. I spoke with her to learn about her injury, how she recovered from it, and what she carries with her from the experience.
CJ: Describe your injury. When and how did it happen?
AB: In January of 2022, the basketball team was supposed to play a game. But when that other team canceled we had a practice instead. During the practice, I caught the ball and turned and felt my knee pop and I immediately knew that I tore it. I was sitting on the ground telling my coach that there was something wrong with my knee and he was trying to be optimistic.
CJ: When it was confirmed that you tore your ACL, what was your reaction?
AB: I remember that I was also convincing myself that I didn’t tear it even though deep down I knew I had. When I found out I just broke down. I felt guilty for my team because I felt like I was letting everyone down. I was also in school when my parents texted me [the news from the scan].
CJ: How were you able to stay connected to the team when you were out?
AB: The team does a lot of team bonding like going to dinner and other stuff. I went to all the games and practices to stay a part of the team and show leadership and lead by example. I also got to do the handshakes when the starters were announced.
CJ: How was your mental health affected?
AB: I was really depressed at first. I decided not to play in college for a time and I thought I would never be able to play sports again. I hated crutches.
CJ: How did it feel losing in the playoffs when you couldn’t play?
AB: It was a really good game and I felt like I had a lot of spirit for our bench. I remember when we lost I saw Delaney [who graduated last year] and I just felt sad because I didn’t get to play in our last game together. I should’ve been focused on next year but I mostly felt a feeling of “what if” the whole season.
CJ: How did it feel when you got cleared to play volleyball again?
AB: I was very happy but also scared because I have a constant fear of re-injuring myself. I was super surprised at first because no one thought that I would be able to play as early as I did. I was supposed to be cleared in January but it got moved up to October. I was super excited to be able to play for most of my volleyball season and eventually to win Western Mass and all of my basketball season.
CJ: What did your teammates do to help you get back on track?
AB: They would always take me to the gym and we all lift together and they were really supportive. Especially Delaney, when I was a junior. She was the first person I told when I got cleared. She was one of my closest friends and I’m happy I got to play with her as long as I did.
CJ: Has it changed how you go about sports?
AB: I think I play a little safer now. It’s always in the back of my mind when I play. When something happens or I make contact with someone I get a little nervous. I know that at any second the smallest thing could cause a big problem and out me again.