Injuries create setbacks but not roadblocks for athletes

Athletes prove that injuries do not stop them from living to their fullest potential.
Injuries create setbacks but not roadblocks for athletes

During his junior year of high school, freshman Rollin G. suffered from an injury that led him away from baseball. | Olivia Blinn/THE CHIMES

A sports-related injury is the sucker punch to a hopeful season or semester. Torn muscles or broken bones have deterred some athletes from continuing on with a beloved sport throughout college. Others have suffered serious setbacks, but were able to reroute their goals into a different avenue within the world of sports.

Broken bones, broken hearts

Rollin G., a freshman biblical studies major, injured himself during the baseball recruiting season his junior year in high school. While training for the season, a fluke accident derailed his baseball career for good. Running a 60-yard sprint in practice, he noticed his legs felt unusually tight. The next day during his game, Rollin ran for the ball in the outfield and heard an unsettling pop.

“And there went my hamstring,” Rollin said.

Andre Murillo, a senior biblical studies major, developed tendinitis in his knee over time. The scar tissue and micro tears made it painful and difficult to play for the basketball team. Murillo had to decide whether surgery would be necessary in order to keep playing for the team. 

Kristi Grimm, who graduated from Biola in 1993, loved cross-country in high school. As a 15-year-old self-proclaimed tomboy, Grimm took a turn for the worse on a morning horseback ride. One minute Grimm happily rode next to her friend, and in the unexpected next, she found herself on the ground beside her horse with a dislocated back. From then on, Grimm has been paralyzed from the hipbone down. She will be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life.

Difficult decisions

While Rollin walked away from baseball after playing all his life, Grimm stubbornly refused to succumb to the change in her physical ability. Murillo’s injury, on the other hand, took place over time and his impending surgery became more and more necessary. He had to make the conscious decision and pull himself out of the game.

Since most of her friends ran track, Grimm could not relate with them the same way anymore. She also had no intention of leaving the people she cared about and beginning a whole new avenue of sports. In order for her to even think about moving on, she had to first come to grips with the reality before her.

“I did not want to get involved with wheelchair sports,” Grimm said.

Journey back to the court

When Murillo decided the time had come for his tendinitis surgery, he bit the bullet and finally deemed the break from basketball worth it. The recovery time after surgery required nine months for Murillo to finally heal.

“I had prepared myself,” Murillo said. “I knew I had to do it for the greater good.”

While it was undoubtedly hard to remain patient over the healing process, Murillo fought to keep his mind on the goal of getting back out on the court better than the before.

Newfound passions dominate

Rollin found that through his injury, the Lord directed his path toward biblical studies and away from everything he thought he knew.

“My leg doesn’t hurt anymore, but I haven’t sprinted since,” Rollin said. He has learned to cope with his injury and direct his passion toward a missional outlet.

While Grimm came from a Christian home and thanked the Lord for her identity found in Christ and not in her physical ability, she admitted she in no way had everything mastered.

“It took a whole lot of maturity,” Grimm said.

When she arrived at Biola as a freshman, coach Dee Henry invited her to join wheelchair tennis. Grimm mastered her doubt and rejection of wheelchair sports as she tunneled her talent into tennis.

“I had never played before, but I found that I really loved it,” Grimm said. Along with Henry, the two established the athletic program for disabled students and began to belong as a new vital part of her team.

Perspectives change along with plans

Grimm has now been disabled now for 26 years and lives in Arizona as a wife, mom and children’s book author. She is able to remain active and accompanies her son in recreational 5Ks on a regular basis.

“I just finished my first 42-mile bike race too,” Grimm said. Grimm knows she does not need to prove herself to the world, but can remain satisfied with the many blessings she has.

Rollin plans to obtain his master’s degree with an emphasis on developing nations in the field of missions. He looks at his situation with complete gratitude for the slew of events after his injury that brought him towards such a completely different area of study.

After the nine-month break, Murillo just started playing basketball again last week. Excited to be back in the game and without the pain, he can continue to pursue and participate in his love for basketball.

Senior Andre Murillo had to take a nine-month break from basketball in order to recover from tendonitis surgery. | Olivia Blinn/THE CHIMES

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Injuries create setbacks but not roadblocks for athletes