After recovering from a nearly career-ending ACL injury, former Pleasant Valley volleyball player Emily Podschweit now actively pursues her dream of Olympic Gold. (Photo used with permission.)
London’s Summer Olympic Games open tomorrow, and as the world once again becomes inspired by the courage and tenacity of Olympic athletes, a volleyball player from the Iowa cornfields is still dreaming of Olympic gold of her own one day. Emily Podschweit is a former Pleasant Valley High School volleyball standout, who just graduated from Colorado’s Chaparral High School in May.
When the London games begin, one eye will be on
her mentor, beach volleyball legend and Olympian Misty May-Treanor, representing Team USA, while the other will be on her own career that began in Bettendorf, IA.
Emily’s ACL tear was bad when it happened back in 2009. So bad, in fact, that her original orthopaedist told her she’d never play the sport she loved again. But Emily sought a second opinion from Dr. Hoffman, a fellowship-trained sports medicine surgeon in Davenport who called on his experience to provide an alternative point-of-view.
“Some surgeons take a very conservative attitude on returning to play,” said Dr.
Hoffman, “but that’s not necessarily good for the patient.”
Fortunately for Emily and the other sports medicine patients at OS, Dr. Hoffman’s experience of performing thousands of ACL repairs in his career has helped form his philosophy of aggressive rehabilitation programs after surgery to help athletes return to their sports safely and quickly.
“Women are three to eight times more likely to suffer a major knee injury than men,” explained Dr. Hoffman. “As more young women like Emily play in high school sports where the knee takes a lot of pounding, there is a related increase in knee injures.”
It took six months of hard work after surgery. “Dr. Hoffman kept in touch and encouraged me the whole way through,” she said. “I learned you have to have patience to get to the next level and deal with setbacks – like injuries – when they happen.”
She managed to get herself back on the court again. And after eleven months, Emily found herself and a teammate fighting their way to fifth place in the AAU Junior Olympic Beach Doubles Tournament – the first team from Iowa to medal in the history of the tournament.
Emily’s Olympic dream eventually took her and her family from Pleasant Valley to their current home in Parker, Colorado where she could be near the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and play for one of the top club programs in the country during the off-season.
The Pursuit of the Dream Continues
Now in the Summer of 2012, Emily has graduated from high school with accolades and honors that could propel her to the top. She was named one of the Top 5 defensive players in the nation for indoor volleyball and ranked in the Top 8 players in the U.S. for beach volleyball, following her senior season.
Emily is currently training with the USA Beach National Team in Hermosa Beach, California, located near the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista. In the fall, she will be attending Florida International University in Miami with a full-ride scholarship to play the sport she loves. Her mother, Mary Kaye Podschweit, says her daughter still dreams of making the Olympic team, and that she has her eye on trying out for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, with even greater hopes of making the team for the 2020 Games, eight years away.
“When Emily left Bettendorf,” recalls Mary Kay, “she wrote a letter to Dr. Hoffman and the OS team, thanking them for helping her save her knee and her dreams. Without them, she would be the player she is today.”
For more information on understanding knee and ACL injuries and the various treatment options open for discussion with your doctor, visit the Orthopaedic Specialists PC website: www.osquadcities.com