Reaching ‘the top of the mountain’

Lady Barons captain returns to playing after injuries


Lilyanna Luna-Salazar

Forward and senior Emma Schroeder back to practicing since her injury. This practice took place on Dec. 13 in the gym after sixth period.

Lucia Rivera, Editor-at-Large

She described it as reaching the top of a mountain. She had torn 100 percent of her ACL, 25 percent of her meniscus and part of her MCL six months ago at her first game back from a previous ten month injury and recovery process. But now, Bonita Vista High (BVH) forward varsity basketball player, captain and senior, Emma Schroeder (4) has returned to the court. 

“When I finally got that stamp of approval [and got cleared to return to playing], it felt like a relief because it felt like you’re finally on top of the mountain like you’ve made it like you’re done. I’m not saying that it still isn’t difficult because even returning to play is still really hard, because there’s so much that I need to get back, but at least for now, I’ll just settle for this one small victory,” Schroeder said.

Schroeder got officially cleared on Nov. 18, but her first game back was against Highlands Ranch on Dec. 4 for a tournament. While Schroeder expressed her relief at being able to play basketball again, she did face some hesitations throughout her recovery process.

“Probably the thing that made me hesitate the most was thinking ‘will I be able to keep up with my teammates?’ I don’t want to let them down, I don’t want to hurt the team because I can’t keep up,” Schroeder said. “That was definitely something that made me hesitate coming back, like realizing how much I was going to have to work to get back to that level of play, and that speed. Another thing that definitely made me hesitate was [that] there’s always the fear of another injury, a lot of people [who] have torn their ACL have torn it twice.”

In order to avoid another injury, Schroeder has been easing back into playing. She has been on minute restriction, meaning that she can only play for limited amounts of time during games. 

“Our whole goal is to make sure she doesn’t get injured again. I don’t believe she’s quite 100 percent, so we don’t want to put too much stress on her right now, and we especially don’t want to put too much stress on her other leg. We don’t want one knee taking all the work, so we just try to manage her time,” head varsity girls basketball coach, Tristan Lamb said. 

According to Schroeder, her family, teammates and coach were all excited for her to get cleared, even though her family were a bit worried about further potential injury. Lamb, however, has been coaching Schroeder since her freshman year and stated he was glad to have her strong leadership back.

“[Lamb was] really happy for me when I finally got clearance, which is really great to have that excitedness you have for yourself being reciprocated. He’s been amazing throughout it all in understanding that I can’t do everything but also lets me push myself if I think I can, but he also does a good job of letting me rest when I don’t feel myself,” Schroeder said.

Lamb also believes that some of Schroeder’s motivation stems from her attending six days of practice every week, even when she could not participate. Schroeder described how this was “probably one of the hardest things about all of it,” but also let her stay connected with the team through any activities she could do.

“I think [coming to practices] gave her the motivation and I think she also was able to see what we were working on when it came to plays and sets she needs to know. I think it just kept her motivated because she wouldn’t just sit around, she would do planks or she would do something just to stay active, one hand shots or whatever she could do,” Lamb said.

Schroeder stated that without the support from different people in her life, her injuries would have made her a more pessimistic person. Instead, she worked to stay motivated with the help of her sister, and also enjoyed the responses of her teammates when she was cleared.

“When Emma [Schroeder] first told us that she got cleared by her doctor to be able to start playing, I was so excited because Emma [Schroeder] plays a very big role on this team as a captain, also as a very strong and physical player. Her presence does impact the whole team because she likes to calm everyone down and encourage everyone when things go wrong. She also brings a lot of energy and joy to the team,” captain and junior, Julia Cosalan (1) said.

Now that she has returned to playing, Schroeder hopes she will reach 100 percent by the time that league competition starts and by Senior Night on Feb. 12. She described an image in her head that she hopes to fulfill where she can play confidently and without concern for her knee. 

“I’ll definitely be confident by [Senior Night], but [I] definitely [want to be confident] when league starts. [Then] we’re in our home gym [with] friends, family, even people you don’t know that are there supporting [the team]. Even [during] warm-ups, [when] we have music playing and [we] run out, it’s a good feeling because you’re doing something that you’ve practiced. You’re doing something that you’ve done for a long time, and this is your strength and you’re good at it,” Schroeder said.

For now, Schroeder is “happy with how far [she has] come” and will continue building strength in her knee and improving her endurance.

“I want her to be a great leader and be effective offensively on the court and play some good defense and stay out of foul trouble. I think she’s been doing a great job so far like I said she played in the old tournament and she’s starting to look like the old Emma [Schroeder] again, just need[s] to get a little more strength in that knee,” Lamb said.