Once an athlete tears a major ligament, the risk of tearing it again increases.
However, that is not the story here as the second time around in Makaylah Scott’s case, it was the other anterior cruciate ligament that gave way from the first one that happened in junior high.
This volleyball season, it was Scott’s right ACL that broke in two, forcing her to the sidelines through the winter.
She remained a leader, of course, and mentioned that she gained a new perspective from her seat off the court that allowed her to slow things down.
Now, with the calendar nearing softball season, Scott no longer wants to slow things down but instead ramp things up to get back to the diamond-shaped field that will remain constant in her transition to college.
That next step had already been made before the injury in the fall which definitely eased her mind a little, although she mentioned still being quite nervous to tell her soon-to-be coach the bad news she received.
She first got in touch with one of her coaches of the select team she plays for, Roan Eschete, and he gave a ring to the head coach of Texas A&M Corpus Christ in Blake Miller.
“I was in my room and I called him,” Scott recounted, sounding just as anxious as she was that day. “He said, ‘So let me know what’s going on, what’s happening?’ I said, ‘Well, the thing is I tore my ACL.’ He just said, ‘Okay, is that it?’” and Scott let out a sigh.
Miller went on to tell her, “‘Nothing changes with your scholarship, we still want you we know you’re going to come back stronger,’ and I was like okay cool great,” Scott mentioned.
She added she just didn’t know what was going to happen but was immediately relieved to know there would be no changes.
That allowed Scott to put pen to paper on her national letter of intent in November, making her commitment official although still hobbling around with her leg entrapped in the large brace that serves as the present for patients recovering from major knee surgery.
But that brace has become sort of old hat for her, already going through the grueling process of rehabbing a new ligament in your knee.
Scott explained she first tore her left ACL in seventh grade while practicing for track, a sport that she has not returned to since.
She mentioned they were doing long-jump workouts and at the end of one of her leaps, she fell sort of awkwardly, tweaking her knee on her return to earth.
In true seventh-grader fashion, her friends laughed at her tumble, not really understanding the impact of what could have happened.
Scott got back up a little wobbly, already getting a hint that this wasn’t great.
When her mom, Angie, arrived to pick her up from practice, Scott could barely lift herself into the car.
By the time they got back to their home, Scott’s grandfather was asked for his expert opinion from his career as an emergency medical technician.
Jim Turnbull, who Scott credited as being one of the major motivating factors to get her involved in sports in the first place, came over and knew it didn’t look great.
She eventually got the necessary tests done and it was confirmed that her ACL was torn, but as a junior high student, she knew quite little about what that even meant or what her road ahead would look like.
“I didn’t know what it was, I don’t know what an ACL is, I don’t really know anything about knees or body parts,” Scott said. “They told me, ‘It’ll be six months and then you’ll have to do therapy,’ and I didn’t really understand I was just like alright let’s go.”
But her naivety came back to haunt her so to speak, with the workouts posing a seemingly unreachable destination but it was really only because she was too young to really understand her body and how to work it out.
Still, she found herself getting frustrated when she was unable to do just about anything, and mentioned her mom took it rough as well.
“I think it hit my mom harder than anything because she could see that I was getting frustrated with myself,” and all her mom could do was just watch, Scott said.
But Angie remained by her side through it all and once Scott thought she might have been reaching a wall, her mom knocked it down.
“There was a bunch of times where I would talk to my mom and say, ‘I can’t do anything more,’” Scott said. “She’d say, ‘No you’re fine you’re going to work it out, you just gotta get over the hump, jump over the cliff and you’re going to get better,’” Scott recounted.
That day did indeed come as she was able to clear each hurdle and make her way back to full health for her eighth-grade year, a moment she related to finally cracking open a big treat.
“It’s almost like you have a candy bar, and you’re walking through school and you’re like oh let me pull out the candy bar, and you finally get to open it up and eat it. That’s what it was like,” she said of the comeback.
She made the most of her time back on the field and gained interest from college coaches who would have loved to have her on their team.
But it was the family down in Corpus Christi that made her feel like home, and of course, a beach right across the street doesn’t hurt.
“The other schools were a lot closer but Corpus just felt like home,” Scott said. “It’s a great group coming in, great coaches, great environment and the beach right across the road? Sold.”
But before she can take that step, she still needs to complete her full recovery from her most recent tearing of her right ACL which came during the middle of a volleyball match in Needville.
“I would always stomp my feet really hard to celebrate because I was excited,” Scott mentioned. “And I did it one time after I set a ball and we got a kill and I stomped down but it kind of tweaked and so I came back and I was kind of holding onto the group and they were asking if I was okay and I was like, ‘No, no, coach call a timeout.’”
She was evaluated by the Needville medical team and saw Sealy’s trainer, Jeff McDaniel, when she returned, only to be directed to a doctor at Houston Methodist Hospital who relayed the news of another torn ACL.
Scott mentioned staying in touch with her surgeon from the first surgery and consulted him again to confirm their thoughts, and he came back with both good news and bad news.
Despite asking for the good news first, the doctor delivered the bad news; torn ACL.
But the good news was that he was going to wrap the new ligament in cell tissue to possibly speed the recovery, which also allowed her to return to her volleyball teammates to share the information.
Scott had trouble relaying the story of how coach Kim Boyd broke the news to the team, mentioning it was a very emotional post-game interaction.
But her teammates were all there to support her and that support has not stopped and has since carried her to being just a few weeks out from rejoining softball activities one last time in the black and gold.
But with this being her last year at Sealy High School, she was only slightly disappointed in her lack of ability to do things this year.
“It was more frustrating the second time because I’m a senior in high school I want to do everything,” Scott said. “I wanted to play basketball this year but I couldn’t, I wanted to do more but I couldn’t because of health reasons.”
That excuse will be going away soon though, in a moment that she can only dream of for now.
“Probably butterflies in the first game of senior year that I can actually play,” Scott noted. “Probably a couple tears and I think realizing that this is all coming to an end so kind of bittersweet.”
It will certainly be the payoff of a lot of hard work, a second time around, but in the end, it’s just another little bump, right?
“I don’t want people to think that my knee surgeries are who I am,” Scott said. “I want people to think it was just a hump I came across and I got over it. Little things happen and you just make a better situation.”