Injury shapes state-bound athlete


Mayu Fukuda 

ADVERSITY. Senior Mayu Fukuda is pictured with visiting friends after her surgery. Although Fukuda struggled greatly through her recovery, she acknowledges what it taught her. “I have a slightly better understanding of how to cope with tough situations, how to rely on others in tough situations and how to mentally get through it,” Fukuda said. 

   An athlete’s life thrives off of routine. Practices are consistent and so are games and matches. Once in awhile the rhythm is punctuated by the excitement of a big win. 

  And other times, monotony becomes tragedy by a mere fall or trip.  Simple misfooting was what injured senior Mayu Fukuda last fall, prematurely ending her tennis season. 

  After she fell, she heard an unmistakable pop. She tried to initially play it off but soon realized something was gravely wrong. After getting an MRI and X-RAY done, Fukuda received a call from her doctor stating that she had torn her ACL. 

   “I became lightheaded and just sat in the hallway for twenty minutes trying to comprehend my condition. Four days afterward, I got surgery,” Fukuda said.

   After surgery, Fukuda missed a week of school and had to stay in bed with her entire leg bandaged and stabilized. 

      But with a fighting spirit, Fukuda began rehabilitation several times a week for two to three hours. Some days she “despised” going but knew it was best for her.

   Apart from the physical demarcations, the mental aspect proved the most difficulty for Fukuda. It was her first year on the Varsity Gold team and she had just been sentenced to the sidelines. 

   “No matter how much I wanted to play I couldn’t. I was lonely sitting there by myself and just thinking of how much I wanted to be out with my team, competing. Tennis has been a big part of my school life, playing every season until then, so it was a drastic change,” Fukuda said.

   Despite the challenges, Fukuda came back stronger, facing her senior season with positivity. In fact, she recently went on to qualify for the state tournament.

   “I feel so grateful and privileged to be playing again this year with an amazing team. It makes me so proud just knowing that my hard work really did pay off to be stronger, physically and mentally. Through my loss of a whole season, I appreciate the tennis way more than I would have,” Fukuda said.