Injuries put damper on senior’s final seasons


Dakota Mercer

Senior Bailey Schoener played with a cast on her left arm and her right hand during the state playoffs this year.

Gabby Norman, Staff Writer

For many high school athletes, their senior year is meant to be their final chance for a state title or championship. For several of Kingwood Park’s seniors; however, this dream was cut short. Many athletes sustained serious injuries that prevented them from finishing out their seasons.

“This was my first time being hurt,” said senior Bailey Schoener, a defender for the girls soccer team. “I went in for a slide tackle, and whenever I slid, our goalie came out and slid into my arm and broke it, and then a girl stepped on my thumb and broke it. I initially was super sad because I thought that I wouldn’t be able to finish playing my senior year season.”

Recovery was expected to take six weeks. However, Schoener underwent surgery on her left arm and made it back on the field in two weeks. She was allowed to finish out her career with her team at the state tournament wearing a cast wrapped in bubble wrap on her left arm along with protective wrapping around her right thumb.

Not everyone was so lucky. Seniors Brian Biggs and Bella Salazar both tore their anterior cruciate ligaments (ACLs). Biggs, a baseball player, tore his right before the season opened, preventing him from playing his senior year. Salazar tore hers in the first playoff game of the season.

“I just felt my knee rip apart, and I fell to the ground and screamed,” Salazar said. “I remember all the girls running over to me, but I was just freaking out. I just remember their faces, they were all scared. When I came off of the field, I was like, ‘This isn’t too bad. I can walk-ish, and I can put pressure on it, it isn’t too bad.’ I didn’t figure it out for a long time, I just waited for it to get better.”

The athletes have proven to be support systems for each other. Salazar leaned on junior teammate Brianna Fuhre for support since Fuhre missed the entire soccer season recovering from a torn ACL.

“She’s been helping me a lot,” Salazar said. “She talks to me about it, how she felt at this time, and it’s kinda motivating me because I can see how motivated she is. I just want to come out strong.”

When first describing her injury to other athletes who had similar injuries, Salazar said they instantly knew what she was talking about.

“I think it’s made me stronger,” said Salazar, who signed to play at the University of the Ozarks next year. “I feel like I’m being motivated to be better, to come out better, even if I have to wait a whole year to play.”

The athletes didn’t let their injuries come in the way of supporting their teams. Biggs, although he won’t continue in his baseball career, made sure to still be an active part of the team.

“It sucked because I knew I couldn’t play anymore, but it’s not too bad because I know that I have better things ahead,” Biggs said. “I show up to all the games and showed my support through the games in the dugout. I talk to them all the time.”

Not being able to play the sport made the athletes realize exactly how much they loved playing.

“It’s made me be more determined to come back, and it’s made me realize how much I actually like playing soccer,” said Schoener, who signed to play with Mary Hardin-Baylor next year.