Hanson battles through second knee injury


Some describe it as a tear or a rip, others as a pop. Some do it while kicking, tackling or running. It often requires surgery, and athletes who do it once are much more likely to do it again. It can happen in almost any sport and cause months of rehab and recovery.

Junior Makenzie Hanson is too familiar with anterior crucial ligament tears. During her college career in soccer, Hanson has suffered an ACL tear not once, but twice. This injury is one that Hanson has dreaded since her first year in college.

NAIA playoffs

The women’s soccer team hosts Viterbo in the first round of the NAIA playoffs at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 21 at Liston Stadium.

Hanson said she tore both her ACL and MCL the first minute of her first game her freshman year at Baker.

“It was kind of hard because it was the first big injury I had,” Hanson said. “So especially going through all the preseason workouts, and then the first game comes and I get hurt.”

Seven months and a surgery later she was fully recovered and ready to start training again.

Women’s head soccer coach Davy Phillips was an assistant coach at the time when Hanson was first injured.

“I think anytime a player gets injured, it’s tough for everyone,” Phillips said. “That year, it happened so early that everyone was still figuring out where we stood together.”

According to Hanson, her doctor said athletes are 10 percent more likely to tear out the other knee once they’ve torn the first one.

This past September in a game against Doane College, Hanson tore her other knee along with her meniscus.

“The night before that game I thought to myself, ‘Wow I’m in the clear. It’s not going to happen again,’” Hanson said. “I knew right away. It wasn’t even pain. I was just crying because I knew.”

Senior Tori Paul, who is Hanson’s roommate, said at first Hanson was discouraged, but she quickly overcame her dismay and became motivated to come back a stronger player.

Now Hanson is eager to start playing again.

“I get to start running Dec. 22,” Hanson said. “It’ll be like a Christmas present. Probably the best present I’ll get will be to run again.”

Hanson said her teammates have been supportive, and she is still able to feel needed on the sideline. However, this doesn’t mean the soccer players didn’t feel her loss.

“Our team culture is really good right now so the girls care a lot about one another and they’re all sympathetic about injuries,” Phillips said. “They know how hard it is on athletes to not be able to do what they love.”

Starting goalie Rachel Hunt said that since every player on the team is special, so when one is unable to play it changes the team dynamic.

With the Wildcats having so much success in women’s soccer this season, Hanson said it is difficult not to be able to join her teammates on the field.

However, according to her coach, she is still contributing to this success.

“Mak is a great person. She has a competitive spirit and she’s a really smart player as well,” Phillips said.

Hunt said Hanson has maintained a positive outlook while relying on the coaching staff and teammates for support.

“She has stayed positive through it all and always encourages other girls to do their best,” Hunt said.

Injured players like Hanson can sometimes feel unimportant when they have to sit on the bench, but Phillips advises them against becoming discouraged.

“They still add a terrific value to the culture and who we are as a team,” Phillips said.