A surgical procedure is more than capable of putting a damper on an athlete’s career. Question marks rise before even entering the locker room on whether or not the player will return to normal form.
However, that is not the case for senior third baseman Tori Koerselman of the Sam Houston State University softball team, who is having an eye-popping season following surgery for a torn meniscus, twice.
A few seasons ago the senior had been missed diagnosed with a bone bruise on her right knee and were forced to take six weeks off in order to recover, but once she returned to the field, Koerselman was still in excruciating pain and required surgery.
“At that time, when they went to do surgery, they found the tear and repaired it,” Koerselman said. “That required another six weeks off and I was very disappointed I had to do that, but I was glad to finally get it fixed.”
Following physical therapy and another six-week absence, Koerselman returned to the diamond only to tear the same meniscus again, which required a second surgery.
The Huntsville native believes her anticipation to return to the sport caused her to rush through the physical therapy process and not give her body the time it needed to heal.
“I definitely underestimated the injury because it’s a minor injury in most aspects,” Koerselman said. “After the second surgery, I definitely took more time to rehab it better and get everything around it a lot stronger so that way it would not happen a third time.”
For anyone, regardless of his or her athleticism, physical therapy following a surgical procedure is a tough journey, but since Koerselman had been on a break from both school and softball at the time, she allowed herself the time she needed to fully recover.
During her time off, the senior focused on healing her knee as well as her physical health, so when she did return to the Bearkat Softball Complex, she would be in the best possible shape.
“I was way out of shape at that point,” Koerselman said. “ And I think that was the main reason the injury happened twice, but overcoming the knee surgeries and improving my overall health in general has been a huge milestone in my life that I am super proud of.”
Koerselman has every reason to be proud of how she handled the situation. Since her return to the diamond this season, the senior currently stands fifth in the conference for bases stolen with 11 and notched her first homerun of the season during the series finale against the University of Central Arkansas on March 25.
“I had not really felt like myself until the series last weekend,” Koerselman said. “It felt natural being out there. Now I feel like I am heading to the right direction to help the team out.”
Koerselman currently holds a batting average of .352 and has started in all 30 of the team’s games. The senior also has 32 hits, five doubles, a triple and 14 RBIs under her belt.
“From an athletic stand point, you do not find kids like her, “assistant coach Garrett Valis said. “She’s a great kid to have around and her athleticism keeps everyone going.”
Valis continued to praise Koerselman on her ability to keep focus and handle the many obstacles that life has thrown at her while continuing to have a positive spirit.
“She has had many obstacles to go through but she shows up everyday the same person and never has a bad day,” Valis said. “She always puts in great effort.”
Koerselman’s strong return to the game and her ability to overcome adversity is a prime example of how one should not allow bumps in the road to throw them off their path to success.
Koerselman, along with the rest of the Bearkats, are set to take on the Stephen F. Austin State Ladyjacks on Friday and Saturday at the Bearkat Softball Complex. Friday is a doubleheader with the first game starting at 3 p.m. and the nightcap at 5 p.m. First pitch for Saturday’s game is set for 3 p.m.