SHATTUCK – When Katelyn Cummings crumbled to the floor last season nearly 3 minutes into the area tournament with a devastating knee injury, Shattuck's season crumbled with her.
Cummings, now a senior, had torn every ligament in her right knee after a collision during a layup attempt, seriously jeopardizing her athletic future.
But she never truly gave up, working her way back onto the basketball court in time for the season opener and in time to lead Shattuck to the state tournament. In just their second tournament appearance in school history, the Indians open against Red Oak on Thursday at 3:30 p.m at Carl Albert.
“I got really down on myself for awhile because I thought I would never play again,” said Cummings, who was already playing with a partially torn ACL in her left knee. “It was really tough, but I decided I couldn't give up.”
Initially, doctors told Cummings there could be a lot of permanent damage and questioned her basketball future.
That prognosis was delivered the day after the injury and the day the Indians' season ended at the hands of Corn Bible Academy. It added even more salt to the wound.
“I was really sad,” Cummings said. “I got really down on myself for a while because I thought I would never play again.
“We just decided that next year we'd have to keep going further.”
And Cummings decided she wanted to keep playing.
Her recovery, though, was long and tiresome. The injury happened in February, but she had to wait until after some physical therapy into late March for the surgery. Then she had to wait nearly five months to start jogging, and then even two more months to be released to play.
When school started in August, Shattuck coach Kenna Young wasn't even sure Cummings would ever walk normal again.
“She had a hard time,” Young said. “Mentally and physically it was hard on her because she absolutely did not like that pain.
“And mentally she knew she wanted to get back, people were telling her she probably couldn't and physically the pain was so hard on her it just took her forever to get to the point where she could even walk without a limp.”
Cummings will likely never be fully recovered. She has moments where her knee buckles, forcing her to sometimes miss a game.
But she is still second on the team in scoring with 14 points per game, serving as the top 3-point threat and team leader.
“It's crazy to see how far I've come,” she said. “I've come pretty far considering that I had, like, 10 things torn.
“It makes me feel good about myself because I was doubted by everyone; I even doubted myself a few times. And now to be playing in the state tournament my senior year is really amazing.”