Cara Becker- A Long Island Athlete’s Road to Recovery
*This isn't the type of writing or subject I usually do, I'm just trying different things !
Wind in her hair, adidas cleats digging softly into the ground, the gentle stroke of the ball as it flies swiftly through the air ; these are all moments it’s easy to take for granted. After tearing her ACL in the fall of 2015, Great Neck South High School senior Cara Becker realized the massive role soccer plays in her life.
After playing soccer for over twelve years, it’s easy for it to become just part of a routine. It may even begin to feel like a chore going to practices and putting on shin guards before a big game. “It just becomes like going to school everyday,” she said.
It was the September of Becker’s freshman year. Her team was competing in a recruitment weekend at Harvard University, and she sprinted down the field like she had so many times before. But now, as she went in for a tackle, she felt her knee snap and was hit with excruciating pain.
When she began to feel better, she got up, but when she couldn’t stand, she knew she was out. An MRI confirmed she had torn her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
Becker became concerned she would be a different player when she returned. She was devastated she couldn’t play, but stayed hopeful and dedicated herself to getting better.
She did her physical therapy rigorously, on some cases even while she studied to give herself the best chance of recovery.
“Cara definitely missed soccer, but she didn’t sit around and mope about how unfortunate it was that she got injured. She got up and started to do something about it,” said Susie Fendt, Becker’s best friend. Even though she was out for the season, Becker made a stunning full recovery in 6 months.
To the people around her, Cara Becker is known as the most dedicated, caring, and self motivated individual. Becker’s nature got her back on her feet approximately 3 months earlier than the recovery time for most people with a torn ACL.
For Becker, Soccer has been an everyday commute, and it took her injury to remind her of of the love she has for the game. “You should appreciate it because it can go away so easily” she said.
Although Becker spent a whole season of club soccer doing physical therapy exercises and not playing, it opened her eyes to how much she loves the game. She missed the initial sprint as the whistle blows, and the adrenaline pumping through her body.
Finally, after six months of waiting, Becker is at her first practice back. Even though the team had changed, and there were new girls and a new feel to the team, Becker was excited and optimistic about getting back on the field.
She said she was a different player, more motivated. It didn't matter as much what people thought, or even if her team won; Becker was happy just playing the game.
Becker’s torn ACL was an example of how we often realize how much we need something when it’s gone. She gained an appreciation for soccer. After being out for so long, “Your whole mindset kind of changes” she said. Becker will still occasionally get tired of soccer, and it might still feel like a chore sometimes, but the next time it does, she’ll remember her life without it, and keep sprinting towards goal.