Second Level: Frankeny ready for healing to begin
Mon. December 17, 2012 at 4:00 p.m. | By By Robert Demetrious | StarNews Correspondent
Former Hoggard and Coastal Christian soccer standout Chelsea Frankeny played her freshman year of college with two injured knee ligaments. (Photo by Charleston Southern University)
Experiencing significant pain, Chelsea Frankeny believed she had sustained serious knee injury as a result of wear and tear throughout the high school and club soccer grind.
Despite the pain, she was given a clean bill of health from doctors while at Hoggard High School. But upon her arrival at Charleston Southern University earlier this fall, she would learn that was not the case.
During a routine physical with team doctors, she was informed that two knee ligaments were torn.
"I was very frustrated to know I had more to worry about than just adjusting to the college level," said Frankeny. "Trying to establish yourself as a freshman on the team; it was rough going into school and knowing I already had this against me."
Playing on essentially one leg, the freshman forward was determined to stay on the field, postponing surgery until after the season.
"I wanted to be on the field," said Frankeny. "Just like during my senior year of high school ball, I would bite down and push through. I did what I had to do to get the ball in the back of the net."
Playing for Coastal Christian and Hoggard, Frankeny scored 90 career goals in high school and added 60 assists. But the knee injury forced her to evolve as a soccer player in order to stay on the field.
"It changed everything about my game," said Frankeny. "The way I ran, passed, went in for tackles, my mindset. It was one of the most frustrating things not being able to commit to something you love."
Frankeny started the first four games for the Buccaneers this fall, but her productivity was limited by her injury.
Trying to play through the pain, Frankeny began to overcompensate for her knee and suffered other physical ailments. She lost her starting position and the once-vibrant goal scorer for the Vikings and Centurions lost her confidence.
"Moving up from the high school level to college is intimidating as it is," said Frankeny. "There were many games and practices I could only do so much because of my knee. To go out and there and not being able to fully commit and turn and move really affected me."
Through the crippling pain, she played in all 19 of her team's games, finishing with four goals, one assist and nine points.
Last Friday, Frankeny underwent successful surgery on the two ligaments. While cleaning up the mess, doctors discovered damage to the patella which will require arthroscopic surgery. Recovery time is projected to be about four to six months, barring potential set-backs. But only four days out from surgery, she is quickly realizing that it will take time to recover.
"It will take every ounce of patience to get through the recovery and rehabilitation process," said Frankeny. "I just keep telling myself, I'm a day closer to getting back on the field and playing."
Through her trials and tribulations during her freshman campaign, Frankeny is using this season as a learning experience going forward.
"I will come back," said Frankeny. "Soccer is where my heart is. Overall, going in with an injury made me a better player but more importantly a better person and I will be stronger next year because of it. Looking at what I accomplished on one leg, I'm excited about next year."