Many times when athletes face the adversity of injuries before or during the season, we tend to focus on the comeback. Striving to be the athlete we were before the injury. I am here to help provide a perspective change for those who have had a setback and truly fear not returning to “themselves” or the capabilities they once had.

Why try to come back when you can restart?

My name is Kaylee Hinton; I am a senior track and field student-athlete at Texas Tech University. Most athletes are aware that you get four years of eligibility under the NCAA to compete as a student-athlete. If you don’t know there is a clause that makes competing as a fifth-year senior possible; which is either due to a medical redshirt or a redshirt suggested by coaches for developmental purposes. Currently, I fall under the umbrella of student-athletes who have to redshirt for the year due to an injury and come back next season.

Injuries can be scary and the “what if” of never being the same athlete again haunts people. It sometimes pushes them to play or compete through the injury in hopes that it will magically heal on its’ own.

In October of 2018, I was going over hurdles like any other practice. After going over the first hurdle, I had an awkward step on my landing, and immediate pain went throughout the bottom of my foot. After a month of trying to nurse my way back to practice I finally got an MRI that revealed I had a first metatarsal stress fracture which is just a fancy way of saying a stress fracture along the side of my foot where my big toe is. Before getting the MRI, I saw a physician two weeks after my injury had occurred and he brought up the possibility of this injury, but immediately refuted it because he said these are one in a million injuries, and he has only seen one in his whole career.

Well congratulations to me, I won the lottery on finding a way to injure myself in one of the rarest ways possible.

After three months of being in an out of a walking boot, doing tedious rehab I have officially been able to start my transition back to practice. I think the biggest disappointment that I had to face as I have begun my progression back to full release is being out of shape. I did not just wake up and pick up right where I left off.

Thinking about it this is also the biggest blessing that I will get to experience as well because God has given me an opportunity to restart from scratch. I am building myself back from the ground up and why would I want to go back to the athlete that I once was when I could be better? I have the opportunity to grind harder than before, focusing on taking everything I do to the next level whether it be dieting, sleep schedule, or handling business in school better.

2019 is the year for me to reset, becoming a better person and student-athlete than I ever have been before. I thank God for allowing such a humbling experience to occur so that I can get up and represent Him more powerfully than before. Not saying some days won’t suck or feel like I am so far behind everyone else, but that’s when I need to dial in to focus on myself and the end result. Knowing victory will be sweeter when I am standing on the other side of this battle proclaiming to be a conqueror.

This situation is not my comeback story this is my transformation story.

Kaylee Hinton

Kaylee Hinton

I am a heptathlon student-athlete on the Texas Tech track & field team. I am a 3x Big 12 Champion and an Outdoor NCAA All American. I have one year of eligibility left. I am currently pursuing my Master’s Degree in Sports PR. My dream job is to be a PR specialist with an NBA team.
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