Marissa Janning blog No. 3: An update on a recovery, a meditation on the great things basketball has brought
I used to think that, being an athlete, there was nothing worse than the feeling of losing a game. I have found something worse, and it’s not being able to play at all.
In my last blog I left you with the news of my broken leg. It has been roughly two weeks since, and it is still a little emotional, but also motivating. To catch you up with my progress, I have gotten an MRI and three sets of X-Rays that revealed a broken fibula and three torn ligaments in my foot/ankle area.
Our medical team were worried about the ligament that runs from my ankle up and in between my tibia and fibula, so I was put under with anesthesia to do a stress X-ray, followed by a possible surgery while I was put under if it was needed. I remember waking up from being knocked out and immediately looking at my leg, back in its original brace, and shedding tears of relief that I had not been cut open.
The doctors gave me this timetable: I can start walking with my boot or air cast without crutches when ready; at three weeks from the injury, I can try shooting, at four weeks I can run, five I can lift and cut, and six weeks out I can start practicing with some contact, and play when I’m ready. Of course, these steps can move up or back, depending on how I am doing. I have started walking a little bit without crutches, but I still experience a little soreness, so I use them as a precaution.
My treatments consist of icing my ankle and my leg by where the fracture is, along with using the bone stimulator in the same spot. This week I hope to start more “rehab” exercises to regain a little bit of strength in my calf. On Wednesday (December 9th) instead of watching shoot around, I actually pushed myself to do some sitting and standing stationary ball handling and stationary form shooting. As excited as I was to actually not have to sit in a chair and dribble, I didn’t let myself get too crazy and stopped an action when I felt pain.
I have missed four games so far (Kansas, Nebraska, Utah, and South Dakota State) none of which went our way. I found myself in all of these games becoming upset, sometimes shedding tears of frustration, because I can do nothing more than clap, cheer, and help through the knowledge I have. I would give anything to be able to play right now, but I can come back soon enough, as compared to many other injuries that could have set me back even further.
Like many other athletes, I am pretty hard on myself. I’m extremely motivated, but at times I can be my own worst enemy. When playing, if I miss a couple shots or make a few bad plays, I am so quick to criticize myself. I’ve surprised myself at how positive I have been so far since being hurt.
This injury has been a hidden blessing in a lot of ways. It lets me see the game from a perspective I have never seen it from before. I already have an idea of things that I can improve in my game when I get the chance to come back. It also gives me an opportunity to help my teammates in a way that I wasn’t able to before. As much as I want to play right now, it’s nice to see the game from a different point of view because I think seeing it from where I am now will definitely help me in the future with my basketball career.
I have been asked a lot about how I am feeling about taking a medical redshirt. I only played in six games so far this season, so it is definitely a possibility, but there are a lot of factors that go into that decision both athletically and academically. I don’t plan on making a decision until I have made it through rehab and am closer to the point of coming back, or not. I am trying not to think much of it yet, but that is a lot easier said than done when deciding what would be best for me.
Aside from talking about my leg, or myself, I really wanted to express how grateful I am to have everyone in my life, including you (since you’re reading this). The insane amount of texts, messages, calls, social media notifications, comments in person, any kind of way people can reach out, they have. And this definitely is not a serious injury to me because it could absolutely be plenty worse, but I really did not realize how many people I have touched through basketball or whatever else. Walking through the airport recently, a woman had asked me what happened. After explaining it as well as I could she then said, “Sweetie, there’s more to life than basketball, remember that.”
I was a little shocked by her response. I understood completely, but after thinking about it, there’s a lot more to basketball than it just being a game. Yes, it’s a competition, but for me never sitting out from an injury before, it made me realize everyone I have around me that supports me whether I have a relationship with them or not, it reminds me of all of the opportunities I have gotten so far in my career.
After each game I have missed, the opposing coaches and players have wished me a happy healing in some way, and that is something that I didn’t expect at all. I’ll never forget after the game in Texas as I sat with the medical staff on the baseline, the East Carolina team cheered me on, and that is something special to know I have earned respect from people I compete against. I have played in some really sweet and historical arenas, been to the NCAA tournament once, the WNIT twice, traveled to Cancun for a tournament, went from the Missouri Valley Conference to the Big East: so many things that I could have never imagined being a part of, and all from a game I’ve loved ever since I can remember.
With that, I wanted to say THANK YOU. Family, friends, teammates, coaches, opposing players and coaches, staff member, fans, classmates, professors, and so many more. I wish I could show how much I appreciate everyone but this blog, interviews; posts on social media, and face-to-face conversations just can’t express it. I have a new role to fill for a while, but everything happens for a reason. Like I said in a previous blog, the good times are never your best, and your bad times are never the worst.