Carangelo: Injuries and the season that never started
New York, N.Y. - Casey Carangelo admits she is struggling with the frustration. She knew something was wrong as soon as she came down from shooting a layup during the first day of spring practice for the Division I St. Francis University women’s basketball team last March. What she didn’t know was that her sophomore season was over before it began.
Ten months later the recovery process is still in a state of uncertainty for the former two-time All-Stater, two-time state champion and all-time leading girls scorer at Thomaston High. The 6-foot Carangelo, a sophomore, has red-shirted this season and retains three years of eligibility but that seems to be little consolation these days.
“It’s been really, really difficult, it’s harder to stay motivated and go to class when you are less motivated,” said Carangelo. “And it hasn’t gotten any easier. Basketball has always been my getaway. It always helped me relieve stress. “
Carangelo first thought her right ankle was sprained but an ensuing MRI revealed three torn ligaments and she had ankle reconstruction surgery in June. The idea was to return to the playing floor in November. It didn’t happen.
She was in a boot for two weeks and then on crutches for six weeks and when she returned to school in August was undergoing rehabilitation exercises.
“I was supposed to be able to start running in October, but my ankle was still swollen and I could barely walk on it” said Carangelo.
Another MRI showed a torn tendon and another surgery was scheduled for November. What the surgery found didn’t quite match up with what the MRI had shown.
“The doctor told me the tendon was wrapped up in scar tissue. He said it looked like a spider web,” said Carangelo. “He cleaned out the whole ankle. “
Carangelo was told it would be a two-month delay and was cleared in December to run again according to her tolerance level. However, again, she knew something didn’t feel right.
“I started doing stuff and my foot started bothering me,” she said. “I went back on Jan. 9 for another MRI and found out I had a stress fracture my foot (also right leg). I was supposed to be in a boot for two weeks and then go on crutches. But it has gotten worse.”
At this point Carangelo is looking at another MRI and the near future is cloudy.
“I’m just hoping that it’s healed but there is no set time,” she said.
` Carangelo, who averaged four points, two rebounds and about nine minutes a game for the Terriers her freshman season, goes to all the home games and away games where it doesn’t interfere with classes. She is at practice every day, watches film and lifts weights.
But for someone who has been playing basketball since she was three-years-old and has had few injuries while never missing a basketball season, it is all wearing on her.
“I don’t remember the last time I didn’t play,” she said. “This is going on a year now and some days I can’t focus on the bad things or I will really go insane. It’s also hard without my family here.”
She is trying to take the positive road.
“I can’t change what happened,” said Carangelo. “I’m doing everything I can to get better but it is out of my hands. I can’t control the situation. My teammates and friends have really helped me and I’m focused on rehabilitation and the future. I hope in a few months everything will be okay.”
A frustrating struggle with hope for the future continues.