Madelyn Broxterman – Emporia State Softball

“I always heard stories of athlete’s careers coming to an abrupt halt, or even ending after being seriously injured. I always thought to myself, ‘I am strong. That could never happen to me.” But then it did. Basketball season my senior year of high school the unthinkable happened. Playing full heart and full speed, like anything I ever did in sports, I tore my right ACL, Meniscus, and sprained my MCL running for a ball that was likely to have been out of bounds if any other person went for it. Little did I know this was the beginning of a long, painful journey full of blood, sweat, and many, many tears.”

“Two months after my ACL and meniscus reconstruction I had to have another procedure to break up scar tissue to get back my full range of motion, so I could even think about walking without a limp again. As a catcher, I was terrified. I could not squat, I could not straighten my leg fully. I could not do anything without pain. I was told I should never catch again. There is something about being told you can not do something that makes you want to do it even more. I will never forget the moment I walked out of physical therapy the day I was told that. I was with my Dad and he asked, ‘Are you okay?’ My response was simply, ‘I do not know.'”

“I got into my car and sat there and cried until I had no tears left. I was not okay. This was the defining moment in my journey where I decided I was not going to let someone decide whether, or not, I was able to pursue what I loved. I had 4 more surgeries across the span of 2 years following my initial ACL and scar tissue procedures. I battled depression, addiction to my pain medication, and identity loss through the course of my healing process. I never slept for more than 5 hours a night for the first two months, I went through withdrawals that made me very emotional.”

I remember times where I would call my sister to leave class to come be
with me in the bathroom while I cried for no reason at all. I lost around 20 pounds and was severely underweight compared to my normal weight. It was terrifying. I am here to tell you I am not ashamed, and I am not chained to these trials anymore. I had to redshirt my JUCO freshman year due to these injuries on top of another meniscus tear right before our fall season started. My sophomore year I transferred to another JUCO in Arizona. I sat out during my fall season there due to my last surgery on my right knee as a result of an infection from the screw. During the spring season I played in maybe 9 innings. I was devastated and wondered why I was not “good enough.” I felt like everyone believed in me except for the people I actually needed to believe in me. Turns out the person that you need to believe in yourself the most, is you.”

“Missing home, I decided it was time to go back to Kansas where I walked on at Emporia State University. My coach took a chance on the kid with an obvious heart for the game. I ended up earning a starting spot as an outfielder halfway through the season. I was really starting to feel like myself again. Fast forward to that next season I earned a starting spot in the outfield and started all 25 games until
COVID-19 ended our seasons. As a result of our shortened seasons, we were able to compete in a college summer series where I was playing left field and tore my left ACL and also have two tears in my meniscus. I am set to have my 7th surgery August 4th, 2020 where I will begin my uphill climb to recovery so I can get out on the field doing what I love once more. I am journaling this process this time
in hopes to one day share my testimony on a bigger stage in efforts to reach out to athletes with similar struggles. However, at the end of the day it is not about my story, but about all of the lessons to be taught because of it.”

“Going through these trials has made me 100 times the player I would have been had I not faced them, and for that, I am grateful. I have motivation and appreciation for the game that only athletes who go through similar trials can obtain. I have learned how to outwork anyone to get to where I want to be.
Not just because I wanted to, but because I had no other choice. When people tell you to never take the game for granted, believe them, because you never know when you will be knocked down on your feet.”

“For anyone facing these struggles, do not give up. Never give up. Fight for what you want and never let anyone tell you that you aren’t good enough or should stop trying. You are capable of so much more than you know and you will always come out stronger.”

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