The torn ACL is considered one of the worst injuries to happen to any athlete, especially a basketball player.
So you can imagine how disappointing it is when a team loses one player to an ACL injury. But for a team to lose TWO players to the same injury on the SAME DAY???
That’s the exact predicament that the Lehigh women’s basketball team is facing now, as freshman Ann-Marie Jacobs and junior Hailey Pascoe suffered ACL injuries within five minutes of each other during warmup drills earlier in October.
According to head coach Sue Troyer, this is the first time she’s seen such an occurrence at the same time.
“I’ve been doing this for 30 years and I have never had an experience where we had two kids have the same injury in such a short proximity of time,” Troyan said. “I mean, it was during the first 15 minutes of practice when we were just warming up, the injuries happened within 5 minutes of each other.”
For Jacobs, this was a devastating blow to what seemed to be a promising freshman year. A four-year letterwinner from Bellevue High School in Washington (where she led her team in points, three-point percentage and free throw percentage as a senior), she started classes during the summer to get acclimated to college life. While driving to the lane during warmups, she pivoted on her left foot while planting her right foot, which caused her knee to give out and send Jacobs to the ground.
As she clutched her knee, Jacobs knew something wasn’t right.
“I knew right away that something was wrong,” Jacobs said. “It felt more uncomfortable and unnatural than painful.”
Not even five minutes later, Pascoe, who had played in all 30 games last season, was performing a step-back dribble when she landed awkwardly and tore her ACL.
Pascoe’s roommate and teammate, junior Meagan Eripret, says that while she is unable to participate physically, Pascoe is still making her presence known on the court.
“Hailey (Pascoe) is the strongest person I know, and she is taking this as positively as she can,” Eripret said. “Her role probably won’t change that much, even though she’s not going to physically be playing. The person that she is makes her a great leader on our team, and I think that will stay true this season.”
While Pascoe has already had her surgery and is currently sitting in on practices, Jacobs will have to do some rehab before she can have surgery. However, while both players’ seasons’ are over, Lehigh still has time to figure out a gameplan and prepare for the season, which tips off on November 11 against Minnesota.
“Sometimes this stuff happens, but the focus right now for the girls is just that we have a lot of depth and now there is the opportunity for kids to step up,” Troyan said. “This will give more kids the chance to take on some more extended roles than if the injuries wouldn’t have happened, but we have the team to do it and we have time to adjust to that.”