By: Paul Hong
An injury is bound to happen when one pushes himself to participate in many sports. One such athlete is soccer player Allison Zalin (’13).
Zalin’s injury was inflicted upon her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), one of the main four knee ligaments, which is crucial for an athlete and needs immediate attention including surgery if needed.
The ACL is located deep within the notch of the distal femur. When an athlete does a sudden turn on her leg while in motion, a tear or strain can happen which causes this common injury.
Her ACL injury has caused her to withdraw from all her sports: basketball, soccer, and track and field. If she wants to partake in any sport-related activity, she can only stand on the sidelines and watch her fellow teammates play while shouting words of encouragement.
She got her injury when she “turned the wrong way” during her first soccer game two months ago with the American Youth Soccer Association (AYSO), which caused her to withdraw from the entire season.
“There was a lot of pain involved with my injury,” Zalin said. “But the worst pain was the fact that I couldn’t play my sports for the rest of the season.”
Rather than getting immediate surgery, Zalin’s current doctor Mark Getelman, proposed the idea of receiving physical therapy, such as wound management, therapeutic exercises, and regular stretching, until she is able to fully regain motion in her leg.
Getelman conducted various amounts of tests and measurements like the Lachman’s test, which measures a person’s knee at a 30 degree angle with a physician gently pulling on the tibia to check the forward motion of the leg.
Zalin plans to get as much rest as she can, as well as doing conditioning such as working on her shots and walking for a period of time so she does not lose her “edge.”
“When you play sports you often take risks, ones that could possibly involve injury,” father Bill Zalin said. “It’s unfortunate that this happened to my daughter, but I know she’s a tough girl and that she’ll pull through.”
Her dedication is reflected upon the amount of love she puts into her sports. Although much movement is not recommended while going through this injury, Zalin makes sure to attend all practices.
“Her absence from the team is a tragic loss because of her skills on the court,” teammate Caitlyn Teng (’13) said. “Although she’s out for the whole season, she still comes to every practice to help each player improve their skills.”
Her teammates, who are relatively smaller than her 5’11” frame, rely on her height and her ability to play as both center and forward in basketball.
“She is our best starting center,” basketball coach Stanley Watson said. “It is such a disappointment that she is out for the season.”
Zalin also plays as a goalie in the (AYSO), which is where her injury originated.
“I always thought Allison was a really good goalie,” soccer teammate Lori Berberian (’13) said. “I know after her knee gets better she will be back and stronger than ever.”
As well as participating in the school’s basketball team and the AYSO, Zalin is also part of the track and field team as the main field eventer. She participates in the high jump, long jump, poll vault, and shock put. The ACL injury crucially affects this particular sport because it requires much running.
“She is one of our best field eventers,” track and field teammate Kenneth Trejo (’13) said.
Afterwards, if her leg feels more stable, she can get fitted for an ACL brace which is useful to prevent further damage by keeping the leg in place.
As soon as she feels better, she plans to go straight back to what she loves the most – sports. If her knee does not feel stable in the next couple of months, Zalin’s doctor might have to request surgery.
“I joined these sports because it’s what I love – it’s me, it’s what I do,” Zalin said. “I can’t wait to recover from this injury so I can get back to the fields and courts.”