celebrating comebacks. congratulations!
After approximately a year of hard work, athletes are often rewarded as they achieve the comeback goals they have set out to accomplish. We hope the stories below will help inspire and motivate you as you work towards creating your own unique comeback story.
Not only do sports injuries impact the athlete involved, but they also have a significant impact on the families who go through the recovery experience with the athlete. As a parent, it is not easy watching your child sidelined after an unexpected traumatic injury. Some of the comeback stories below have been told from the perspectives of their “super moms”.
FROM 4 ACL TEARS ➔ RUNNING THE BOSTON MARATHON
ATHLETE: BRENDA LEIGH
Over the past 19 years, elite runner, Brenda Leigh has overcome numerous obstacles that have come her way. Despite the adversity, her passion for running has kept her going. For Brenda, quitting was not an option. She first tore her ACL at a basketball camp for her all-star team at Valpo University in 2000, and had it repaired with a cadaver graft. After months of rehab, she learned that her body had rejected this "foreign object”, forcing her to redo the entire process and starting back at square one. She then had ACL reconstruction #2, which ended up tearing it again and resulting in ACL reconstruction #3. One year later, she required a hardware exchange in her knee. While the rest of her classmates were enjoying their teenage years, she spent these years recovering from back-to-back knee surgeries during each year of high school. In 2009, 5 years later, she ended up tearing her ACL again.
Despite these obstacles, with hard work and dedication, Brenda managed to achieve her ambitious goal of qualifying for and completing the Boston Marathon!
FROM ACL TEAR ➔ USA NATIONAL CHAMPION
ATHLETE: ELISA AU
Elisa is a relentless 3x Karate World Champion and the only female champion from the United States. She began taking karate at the age of 5, and by the time she was 10, she received her black belt. By the age of 18, she had won numerous WKF World Championships. Growing up, Elisa was also involved in figure skating, gymnastics, canoe paddling, and track and field, while attending Punahou School - an elite college preparatory academy in Hawaii. In 2003, she graduated from the University of Hawaii with a degree in civil engineering. Despite tearing her ACL, she continues to teach seminars around the world, including Japan, Canada, Australia, and the U.S. She also stars in a DVD series called "SECRETS of Championship Karate", where she shares her training methods and ideas along with tips on how to succeed in karate competition. Her determination to overcome adversity and continue to compete at the highest levels is nothing short of inspiring.
FROM ACL TEAR ➔ TEAM USA OLYMPIC DREAMS
ATHLETE: NATALIE KOSKO
Natalie Kosko has had an impressive journey throughout her athletic career. Having trained in gymnastics since young, she turned down a gymnastics scholarship to pursue the Cirque Du Soleil life. However, after picking up rugby at a local club team, she fell in love with the sport which would then become her new passion. As a naturally talented athlete, she was discovered and soon offered a contract on USA National Rugby Team. Her journey over the past few years have not been easy though. Read her story and learn about her journey in overcoming two ACL injuries to returning to the sport she loves.
FROM ACL TEAR ➔ EASTERN FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS AT AGE 9
Athlete: CAMERON BROSNIHAN
Cameron Brosnihan is one of the youngest athletes to ever experience an ACL tear. He tore his ACL playing football when he was only 9 years old. Determined to get back to playing football, he worked extremely hard throughout rehab, and made a successful comeback. Even more remarkable, he then led his team to winning the Eastern Massachusetts championship.
FROM 2 ACL TEARS ➔ WINNING FIRST PLACE IN THE SUPER SPRINT TRIATHLON
ATHLETE: GEMMA BROWN
Gemma Brown is a 33-year old athlete, originally from the United Kingdom but currently living in Abu Dhabi. She is currently Head of Physical Education in a British International School. Previously, she was an International Field Hockey player and is now a sponsored Triathlete; competing every weekend in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. During the summer holidays (June, July and August), she still plays field hockey in Melbourne, Australia, and has played in the National Premier League in England and Melbourne, Australia. Today, after a significant amount of hard work, she won 1st place in the Super Spring Triathlon! Congratulations!
FROM ACL TEAR ➔ RUNNING HALF MARATHONS
ATHLETE: LAURA MARTINEZ
Laura has 7 years behind her after the first time she injured her knee in 2010 during a basketball game. Her knee recovery journey has lasted long having had two knee surgeries and extensive rehab periods whilst wearing a Donjoy knee brace and playing basketball sporadically whenever she was able to. After a successful ACL reconstruction surgery in 2017, she is finally back and feeling like herself again.
FROM MCL TEAR ➔ NATIONAL FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS AT AGE 10
ATHLETE: ISSIAH EVANS
Issiah Evans is not your ordinary 5th grader - at the young age of 10, he tore his ACL and battled through the lengthy recovery. Passionate about football and basketball, Issiah was motivated to get back onto the playing field. His determination and hard work paid off, as he made an extraordinary comeback.
FROM MCL TEAR ➔ WINNING ECAC DIVISION III FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS
ATHLETE: TRAVIS KING
Travis King tore his MCL during his sophomore year of college, which kept him sidelined for six weeks. After weeks of physical rehabilitation, he was able to return to the field and help the team win the ECAC Division III Southeast Bowl Championship Game.