BY SCOTT HUNTER HADDOW
Forced to the sidelines for what has turned into a dream season, Laurentian University soccer player Sally Parent didn't let a ripped tendon in her knee break her remarkably happy spirit.
In the first half of the first exhibition game of the season, against Concordia University in September, Parent tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her right knee while she was running after the ball.
"Last year was my biggest year because I played my best," said Parent. "I was looking to do so much more this year, but then I got hurt. It was the biggest heartbreak for me. Just knowing I could have been a good contributor, and knowing I can't do anything about it now is disappointing."
After having her knee scoped, Parent, 19, was sent to a surgeon in Toronto. She was put on a cancellation list for knee surgery. She has no idea when the corrective surgery will take place, but knows it must happen soon or she will face even more grim prospects than one lost season.
"Next season is big for me, but it depends on when I get my surgery," said Parent. "If I don't have it until the summer, then I will not be back in time for next season as well because it takes seven months to recover. That's even more disappointing because I am missing out on the peak years of the team. If that happens, I will still be at every practice and game because I love being a part of this team."
Parent's bad luck stunned the team.
"Sally's loss was a huge blow," said head coach Rob Gallo. "She was developing into one of the top defenders in the OUA and had a lot of confidence coming into the season. She's driven to succeed and will no doubt find her way back to the soccer field."
Instead of letting the injury and a potentially bleak future cloud her spirit, Parent has redefined herself and become the biggest booster for the Lady Vees soccer squad.
"I am here all the time to give the team a moral boost," said Parent. "I try to keep everybody's spirits up. Watching the games is the worst. I am super competitive, so it's frustrating being only able to yell and cheer for the team because there's only so much of that you can do. I just want to get out there and compete."
Parent's positive attitude has been a welcome addition to the team.
"Sally is well liked by all of the team and staff," said Gallo. "She has become a loud supporter, always finding ways to encourage the team to play hard. Her easy going personality is great to have around."
Parent isn't alone. She has been spending countless hours with a fellow injured teammate, Kristin Green, who tore her ACL last season.
"Everybody has been supportive," said Parent. "Christine has been my everything though. Because she's already gone through what I am going through, she's telling me I will get through it."
The Laurentian coaching staff was able to save a year of her eligibility because she was injured before the season really started. This means she can come back for a fifth season if need be.
"I will be back," said Parent. "I love playing and it's the best university experience you can get."
The Lady Vees opened the playoffs against Brock Friday. A win in that game would pit them against the winner of U of T and Guelph today. A loss
Friday meant the season is over.