With an Injury Comes Opportunity

By Baxter Lanius – February 14, 2011

In the fall semester of my senior year in high school, I decided to take a post-graduate (PG) year instead of going to college. Not because I had bad grades and not because I did not have any offers to play Division-1 lacrosse. Actually, I had good grades, and several offers to play in college. One of the main reasons was that I developed as a lacrosse player later in high school. College coaches are recruiting players earlier and earlier every year. Currently, top high school lacrosse players receive offers to play in college as early as their sophomore year. This made it more difficult for me because by the time I had developed, most college recruiting classes were full. While I did receive some offers, I felt as if the schools did not totally fit- academically or athletically. This is what led to my decision to take a PG year.

It felt like just yesterday I had been applying for boarding schools, but I was back to the same process. For my PG year, I applied to four boarding schools and decided to go to the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, CT. I was ecstatic. My senior lacrosse season at Lawrenceville would now be the equivalent to my junior year and I would gain another summer of recruiting. Immediately, I looked forward to the anticipation of the recruiting process; from receiving calls from college coaches to taking visits to different universities.

Midway through the spring my plans took a turn for the worse. I injured my knee on the first play of the game against our rival, the Hill School. At first I did not think it was very bad because the Hill trainer thought it was just a sprain. I tried to jump right back on the field, but was unsuccessful. That night the pain really swept me away, and I knew it was serious. I ended up finding out the next day that I had torn my Anterior Crucial Ligament (ACL). My excitement and hopes were shattered I knew I had lost the crucial recruiting opportunities of the summer. A few weeks after graduating from Lawrenceville, I had surgery. I wondered if lacrosse would still be waiting for me. I spent the entire summer rehabbing and wondering where I would go from there. Luckily, I had the PG year to fully recover.

Injuries have the ability to devastate individuals, but the ones that don’t end your career and the one’s that allow you to come back, make you better. You have to work your hardest to make sure you are able to recover to 100 percent of your ability. The smallest and seemingly most insignificant rehabilitation exercises are the most significant. But what exactly do injuries do? They give you the time off to do anything you want and grow infinitely as a person. The injury that took away my senior lacrosse season and a summer of college recruiting really only took a fraction of what it gave. It helped me become a stronger person who tries to take advantage of every opportunity given to me, and someone who works hard even when the work may seem unimportant at the time. There is no reason why injuries should devastate you or be considered a misfortune; instead, they should be viewed as an opportunity to dive into other interests that you did not have time for before.