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Hawkeyes' adversity continues with Yanny ACL injury

BY CARLOS SOSA | SEPTEMBER 26, 2012 6:30 AM

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The Iowa volleyball team was hit with another knee injury during the Marquette Invitational on Sept. 14-15.

The Hawkeyes lost middle blocker Emily Yanny for the entire season with a torn left ACL. The New Berlin, Wis., native was injured while attempting a kill during Iowa’s 3-0 loss against host Marquette.

The injury to Yanny marked the fourth Hawkeye in the past two seasons with some sort of knee injury.

“When Emily hurt her knee, I said ‘This is when I want to retire.’ I hate watching athletes get hurt,” head coach Sharon Dingman said. “Their careers are so short and to have them derailed by an injury is hard. I’ve coached almost thirty years and I’ve seen a lot of knee [injuries] unfortunately.”

Yanny was a crucial piece of the Iowa defense. She contributed 10 blocks on the season before going down. She and fellow blocker Chanté Thompson were looked at as the answer for the Hawkeyes up front.

Yanny’s injury came just before Big Ten play. But Iowa has dealt with knee injuries in the past, having dealt with three before this season.

“I tore my ACL last April and tore my other ACL in high school, so knee injuries have been pretty familiar,” junior Grace Burns said. “Right away you know that you’re not going to be on the court for awhile but you have to keep in mind that you’re still a part of the team.”

Thompson and redshirt freshman Alli O’Deen each missed time last year because of knee injuries. O’Deen’s was more serious and required surgery, keeping her from competing for the entire 2011 season.

“I was told it was a sprain but when I went to the doctor I found out it was major, I tore my ACL and my meniscus,” O’Deen said. “Volleyball has been my life-passion and to be taken out of it was awful.”

Unlike O’Deen, Thompson didn’t need surgery. Her nagging knee injury, though, didn’t fully heal and kept her out for much of last season.

Players said their recovery is helped, physically and emotionally, by the constant presence of their teammates and coaches.

“Be honest with yourself and know when you’re in pain,” Thompson said of her advice to teammates. “Also be patient because rehab takes awhile. My part as a teammate is to be there for [Yanny] and to help her with whatever she needs.”

The team helps keep emotions positive but physical therapy is what helps get players like Burns, O’Deen, and now Yanny back on the court. Nagging injuries can be helped through playing, but surgeries are more extreme and require months of rehab.

“When they come out of surgery our priority is pain management,” student athletic trainer Adrian Nelson said. “The first thing we try to do is get the swelling out. Range of motion is important as well, the more range of motion we get … the better.”

Above all, however, dealing with an injury can be difficult because the player doesn’t want to be just known by their ailment.

“I have to be cautious, as her teammates do, that when you talk to Emily to remember that she is not just her injury,” Dingman said. “There are more things going on in Emily’s life than her knee.”


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