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A Leap of Faith

Natasa Dobras, Staff Writer

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As the spring semester of the year arrives, the track season begins. This includes the famous event of pole-vaulting as well. Although it seems like a mellow sport, compared to football or soccer, it has risks associated with it like any other sport. For example, junior Daniel Clenney has just now recovered completely from a pole-vaulting injury that occurred last year.

“We were doing warm ups during a track meet right before I injured my knee,” Clenney said. “I knew something wasn’t right, but I continued.”

Clenney completed two successful jumps. On the third jump, he ended up landing incorrectly on his feet and twisting his leg.

“It made a loud popping sound,” Clenney said. “I could feel and hear it, before I fell to the ground.”

Later, Clenney would find out he tore his ACL, otherwise known as the Anterior Cruciate Ligament. Within the end of the week, he would require a surgery to repair the tear in his knee.

“Whenever I started the procedure, I thought I would be doing a regular ACL repairment,” surgeon Thane Morgan said. “But when I was examining the knee, I found that the ACL was not shredded. Daniel’s ACL simply ‘popped off.’”

For six months, Clenney would have to participate in intensive rehabilitation for his leg. He would be unable to participate in track for the rest of the season, and would spend the majority of the summer recovering, rather than enjoying his time off from school.

“I tore my ACL the day before spring break,” Clenney said. “I had the surgery the following Friday, and two days later I tried returning to school.”

The first day back at school, Clenney was incapable of sitting in a chair for a few minutes without feeling a burning sensation in his knee. The injury caused Clenney to suffer a lot of pain for the following months.

“The worst part about the injury was the rehab,” Clenney said. “I would be screaming on the floor just trying to lift my leg up.”

Just last week, Clenney was released from rehab. He had a successful recovery, and surgery, and no longer has problems regarding his knee to this day.

“I was amazed at the recovery rate,” Morgan said. “Daniel was really devoted to his rehab, unlike many other patients.”

Clenney is capable of competing again this year, but there is a 50% greater chance he will tear his ACL again. Despite the risks, Clenney is not afraid to compete again.

“I knew the risks of pole-vaulting,” Clenney said. “But, I never thought it would come out with a dramatic effect.”

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A Leap of Faith