Crocus Plains guard Stacey Shearer is back in action after recovering from a knee injury that kept her sidelined for more than a year. (COLIN CORNEAU)
Last year, Crocus Plains student Stacey Shearer learned sometimes you don’t know how much you love something until it is taken away from you.
This year, Shearer, who is in Grade 12, is back on the basketball court, softball diamond and hockey ice where she belongs after battling back from an anterior cruciate ligament injury that forced her to the sidelines.
"It was really frustrating not to play and it really sucked to sit on the sidelines and watch your team compete," Shearer said. "I just wished I was out there, but you can’t be and I learned how important sports were to me and how much they were involved in my life and what kind of opportunities they gave me."
In May, 2011, Shearer leapt for a ball while playing centrefield for the Brandon-based Westman Magic. She made the catch but when she landed her knee buckled and folded under her, tearing her ACL in the process.
"The first thing I thought was I have to get the ball in because they had runners on base," said Shearer, who relayed the ball to another outfielder for the throw to the infield. "Then, it was really weird and it’s hard to explain, but my leg felt really light and I knew something wasn’t right."
With her ACL ruptured, Shearer had to wait more than six months before finally getting surgery in January, 2012.
After the surgery, the long and arduous process of rebuilding strenth in the joint began.
"It was really tough in the beginning because I didn’t have any muscle mass in my leg," said Shearer, who spent long hours in the Crocus Plains gym, at the YMCA, and working out at home to strengthening the ligament.
While the ACL injury was tough physically on Shearer, it also took a toll mentally on the 5-foot-8 guard, who is playing basketball this weekend with the Plainsmen at the annual Java Jam tournament.
Last season, she acted as the team manager just to be around the game and the girls.
"I love the team and the camaraderie that comes with sports," Shearer said.
"It’s a sisterhood and it’s a lot of fun when you know you have an entire team willing to back you up."
Now healthy, Shearer said she trusts the knee 100 per cent although there is still some rigidity in the joint limiting her flexibility.
"When I’m playing I don’t think about it at all."
And it’s shown in her numbers as she’s been one of team’s strongest players.
"I don’t like coming off the court knowing that I didn’t leave everything out there," Shearer said. "I don’t want to let my team down, so I try to do everything as well as I can so I’m there for them."
That never-quit attitude and compete level are traits new Plainsmen head coach Adam Hartman picked up on right away.
"She’s an impact player for us," Hartman said. "She understands the game and is one of the strongest players on the floor every night."
Hartman said most nights she covers the other team’s best player, but it’s the intangibles that really set her apart.
"She’s such a leader and sets the example for the younger girls," Hartman said. "You can never have enough players on a team with her attitude."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition February 8, 2013