In today’s episode of This Hits Different, Shelby Cassesse tells the story of Norwin basketball player Savannah Schneck, who is using her ACL injuries to soon help others.
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Norwin senior basketball player Savannah Schneck wasn't sure what happened when her knee buckled during practice almost two years ago.
“It was just a freak accident,” Savannah says. “Nobody knew it was coming. It just happened. Was a little shaken up right after it happened, just like every athlete would’ve been.”
Tests revealed a torn ACL, an injury she knew little about at the time. With her sophomore season done early, she underwent surgery, therapy and learned a lot more about her injury.
So when it happened again just 27 days after she was cleared her junior year, she knew exactly what happened.
“I heard it pop and was like, ‘oh my gosh,’” she says. “And I just screamed in pain and I started to cry.”
Though the process was much more familiar the second time around, she admits it was far more difficult mentally.
“I had to try to keep my mind in the right space and I couldn’t feel negative about it,” she says. “If I went negative with it, I don’t know if I’d still be playing today.”
With help from her medical team, therapists and a sports psychologist, she rehabbed a second time.
Through both recoveries, she began to notice other female athletes dealing with the same injury.
She's believes there's room for change in the structure and expectation of high school athletics, especially as youth sports get more competitive.
“It’s pretty hard to just to go from a whole day of school, trying to drink all the fluids you can, to then going to practice directly after school,” she says. “And then, after practice, you have homework and tests to study for. It becomes very busy.”
Savannah returned to basketball for her senior season.
Despite losing the most critical year for college recruiting, she worked for an opportunity to play at Grove City College.
It's where she hopes to launch a career as an occupational therapist, helping others experiencing similar limitations to what she did the last two years.
“I just want to help to help people get back to that state of ‘oh, I can do this again,’” she says. “Because I know that when I was able to do it by myself again and do everything on my own, it was huge. Mentally, it changed my emotions like crazy.”
For now, Savannah is making up for lost time on the basketball court after missing two years.
A lot of adversity for a young girl who says she wouldn't change a thing.
“It’s taught me to never take anything for granted,” she says. “And a ton of people say that, ‘don’t take anything for granted.’ Because you obviously never know when your last time is going to be.”