Prior to college, I followed practically the same routine each day. I would go to school, go to practice for four hours, come home, do my homework, stretch, and sleep. I did this happily for the sport I love, gymnastics.
Gymnastics was my whole world growing up. That is, until the day I found out I had stress fractured two of my spinal vertebrae. I only found this out after competing for an entire season on the injury I didn’t know I had. This left me with irreparable damage to my back and quite lost in this world. All I had ever known was taken away from me in a moment. So what happens when the only thing you know is gone in an instant?
There I was, confused, flustered and quite heartbroken. I didn’t know a world without gymnastics in it. Every doctor I saw told me the same disheartening news; I wasn’t going to get back into gymnastics. That was when I began aggressive physical therapy, in hopes of a full recovery. I went several times a week, followed the exercises religiously. My physical therapist became more to me than someone who helped me physically feel better. I felt stronger mentally, like I could conquer anything. Eventually, I started getting better. I was remarkably able to make a comeback. My life felt like it came back together with the help of my physical therapist. This was when I decided I wanted to help others the way she helped me. That was when I found my career path.
This is the answer to my question, “So what happens when the only thing you know is gone in an instant?” It’s simple; you take the bad and turn it into a positive. My world that I had believed had lost its meaning truly turned into something with more meaning. I can now help other people the way I had originally been cared for. Now I am at UConn, and I am on the gymnastics team here. I have met the most amazing people and get to keep doing what I love even at twenty years old. I travel the country and this year I get to head out to California to represent the school I love by doing the sport I love. I began studying hard as an Allied Health Sciences Major to go to Physical Therapy school. Every day I work to help other athletes like me, keep what they are passionate about.
Needless to say, I am happy. By building upon the interests that I already had, I’ve been able to find a new path that I am passionate about. Every negative leads to a positive. Sometimes it just takes a while to discover how. I encourage everyone reading this to do the same. Take the obstacles you are faced with and find the positives that may come out of it. Keep trucking along and you’ll find your way.