Unfortunate injuries turn into opportunities for growth


For senior Cecilia Regan, tennis has been a part of her life ever since she was first entranced by it on TV. She tried it for the first time in first grade and it quickly became her favorite activity. Now, 11 years later, Regan is playing her fourth and final season with the Marian varsity tennis team.  

Unfortunately, with every sport comes injuries and setbacks, and Regan is no exception. In January of 2022, Regan tore her left wrist in two different spots in her exterior carpi ulnaris tendon. She “remembers hitting a backhand and feeling a sharp pain.” While these tendons are small, Regan claims them to be “small, but mighty,” as that specific area in the wrist is responsible for weight-bearing activities. However, with the  tennis season quickly approaching, Regan was left without a left wrist, which is crucial to her “backhand” shots. 

But, after already missing her freshman season due to COVID, she was determined to not let another season go by without playing, so she and her coach came up with a new and somewhat unconventional approach: playing with one hand. “I started training my one-handed backhand as much as I could as soon as I got the green light to play again,”  Regan said. This new approach turned out to be a success, as Regan took second place at state after having a successful season and a state run with her one-handed backhand. 

However, even though the ending to her junior season was a success, it wasn’t always a smooth road. “Playing with one hand was physically and mentally difficult,” Regan said. Although it seems like a simple switch of your wrist, it is not as straightforward and affects more than just your grip; it can affect your swing pattern and footwork, ultimately affecting your entire game. Regan said, “It was really frustrating at times. I would be facing players who I had previously beaten and not be able to compete with them in the same way I had before.”

While her junior season didn’t go to plan, Regan made light of the situation and was determined to use this experience as an opportunity for growth both on and off the court. When the journey became difficult, Regan would refer back to an analogy that she and her coach composed, “Having a season is just a cake, but every win adds a little more icing.” Instead of looking at the situation as an unfulfilled season, she viewed it as another “tool in my toolbox” to be able to play with a one-handed backhand. 

After her junior season concluded, Regan prolonged her necessary surgery to the beginning of her senior year in an attempt to have a “normal” summer. After the surgery, she spent the next five months recovering her wrist by means of a cast, brace, and physical therapy to heal her wrist before her final season. A year after the original injury, Regan was cleared at the end of February, a few days before the spring season began on Feb. 27. “I have been working on regaining strength, control, and consistency the past couple of weeks,” Regan said. While recovering from an injury is no simple task, Regan said that she is beginning to “see progress every time I play.”

Regan’s teammate, senior Elsa Jurrens, is also facing a setback this season. In the first dual of the season, Jurrens said, “my right foot got stuck while I turned to hit a backhand.” This resulted in a torn acl (anterior cruciate ligament in the knee) and minor tears in the meniscus. While her senior season is over, Jurrens plans to make a comeback as she is set to play tennis at Creighton this fall. “I have a lot of motivation to get back, as I’m very excited to pursue my tennis career in college,” Jurrens said.

Cecilia Regan ‘23 warms up with her teammates on the Marian court. The first home match was on March 21. Photo by KorinaLiekhus

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