Injuries sideline Vogenthaler from volleyball

It has been a year of leading from the bench
STAND AND SUPPORT. Although she is injured, Vogenthaler continues to show up at games and support her teammates.
STAND AND SUPPORT. Although she is injured, Vogenthaler continues to show up at games and support her teammates.
Sophia Bietz

Volleyball captain Natalie Vogenthaler’s final high school season came to an abrupt end when warm-ups before the first game ended with an injury.

“I was hitting from outside, and I landed unevenly with more weight on my left foot than my right,” she said. “My knee twisted inward, popped, and I fell to the ground. From that point on, I knew it was over.”

Vogenthaler tore her ACL and MCL, along with a partial tear to her meniscus. This injury trio is known as the knee blowout. The average recovery time is anywhere from eight to 10 months; her senior volleyball season? Only three months.

“I spent all summer training with an emphasis on avoiding an ACL injury,” she said, “so it’s kind of funny that this happened.”

Vogenthaler first underwent surgery to repair her ACL and meniscus tears and was put on crutches.

“I can return back to sports after I hit the 8-month mark in my recovery process,” she said.

Sustaining such an intense injury introduces more than just physical setbacks. From missing field trips to social events, Vogenthaler has seen it all.

“Senior year fall is a really active time, so I try my best to be a part of the activities I can do, but it’s hard when I have to miss out because of my injury,” she said

Vogenthaler’s academic life was also put on hold. Frequent appointments and recovery time kept her out of school when determining the intensity of her injury for much longer than anticipated.

“I was missing so much school, and it was difficult to stay on top of my schoolwork,” she said.

Still, Vogenthaler shows up for volleyball. As a captain, she cheers from the bench and supports her teammates on the court. Even injured, Vogenthaler remains an active member of the team.

Even injured, Vogenthaler remains an active member of the team.

“I love my team more than anything, and we’re all super tight-knit; even though the age gap on our team is big, we really love each other,” she said.

Almost all athletes have sustained an injury, minor or significant, while playing a sport. Johns Hopkins reports that in the U.S., around 30 million children and teenagers participate in some form of sports. It was also reported that over 3.5 million sports-related injuries occur per year. It is common knowledge that numerous risk factors come into play when participating in a sport. The National Institute of Health names a few of the risks: overtraining, wearing improper equipment, jumping or running on hard surfaces, or having a prior injury.

UPDATE 10/11 at 6:08 p.m.: the statistic in the last paragraph was a typo and has been updated to 3.5 million sports-related injuries.

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