Sunday, May 19, 2024

Agans bounces back from ACL injury

In 2017, Agans’ freshman year, she tore up the SUNYAC.  Her hitting set her apart from other players. In her first year at Plattsburgh State, she earned the highest batting average on her team with a .410.  

She led the SUNYAC with 42 RBIs and was tied in most homeruns scored in her conference with seven.  

Besides hitting, she led the field with a perfect fielding average, contributing 159 putouts and nine assists for  PSUC. As a rookie, Agans was already tearing up the softball field and never making an error while doing it.  

There is no doubt that she been helping her team reach victory, but her outstanding year earned her a few awards.  She was ECAC Division III Rookie of the Year and SUNYACs Co-Rookie of the Year. Along with earning First-Team All SUNYAC and finally NFCA Third Team All-Northeast Region.

Her freshman year was everything that every softball player dreams of.  Her sophomore year, however, did not go as planned.  

“Her first year of college, she goes on a tear and plays well and is excited,” said volunteer softball coach and Haleigh’s father Tom Agans.  “Then all of sudden, that is stripped away from her.”

Haleigh was playing in a preseason game down south when she hit a ball over the outfielders heads. She started running the bases and as she rounded first, she realized she would not beat the ball to second base.

When she quickly pivoted to run back to first, she heard a pop in her knee and she hit the ground.  

“That is probably the most pain I have ever felt in my life,” Haleigh said. “It was weird because after all, I was able to walk and get up, which usually happens when you tear your ACL. You can walk again. In the moment, that was a lot of pain.”

But pain didn’t stop Haleigh. She kept playing softball for another six months with a torn ACL.  

Then six months later, she was playing in an arch ball tournament to raise money for the PSUC softball team. She was on third base when a ball was hit to her.  When she stepped to throw the ball to first her knee popped—again.  

She went to Lake Placid Sports Medicine where they recommended she get an MRI. After the MRI, her doctor told her she tore her ACL, meniscus and a piece of bone out of her femur. 

“I went back on crutches, back into a brace and I scheduled my first surgery, and [the doctor] didn’t know the extent of my injury at the time,” Haleigh said. The first surgery ended up being four hours when it should have been a short surgery.”

In November, Haleigh’s doctor took seven pieces of cartilage out of her leg and repaired her meniscus. In March, they did another surgery with a cadaver ACL, and fixed the rest of her knee.

She painfully walked with crutches from October 2017 to August 2018.  It was painful and uncomfortable for her, but she started physically therapy in her hometown over the summer in Brasher Falls, New York.  Wasting no time after her surgery, she started her recovery with softball on her mind. 

Lisa Vicencio was her athletic trainer from PSUC who helped her through her recovery.  

“My family and Lisa helped me get to where I am,” Haleigh said. “Lisa helped me get to where I am physically, along with pushing me mentally.  My family in Plattsburgh and at home helped me, too.”

Her injury caused her to redshirt her sophomore year, but she watched from the sidelines waiting anxiously for her junior year so she could step onto the field again. 

Over the 2018 summer and winter, Agans began her slow recovery process. Vincencio worked with her to strengthen the muscles around her knee and taught her how to walk and run with proper form.  

This season, Haleigh was able to bat in almost every game and worked on her fielding in practice. Her trainer and family decided to take her recovery one step at a time.  

They were worried with Haleigh being an infielder that she could quickly injure herself.. After a full year of being away from her passion, she played her first game in Kissimmee, Florida, in March.

“I don’t think I told too many people that I was nervous, but I definitely was nervous to get back on the field,” Haleigh said. “I was timid at first and worried about doing certain things.”

Just two hours later in game two, Haleigh launched her first homerun of the season in her first at-bat of the evening. 

Haleigh had a rebound season her junior year. She batted a .391 average to go along with 36 hits, three doubles and five home runs.  

Haleigh’s father was more than proud of his daughter for her recovery and bravery as she stepped on the field this year.

“She’s not in her prime yet. I’d say she is maybe 50%. But in the 50%, she is one of the toughest hitters in the SUNYAC and I am pretty proud of that,” Tom Agans said.  

Haleigh Agans went through a devastating injury last year.  Her journey through recovery was not always the easiest, but she is just glad to be back on the field doing what she loves.  

“It’s not the injury that defines who you are, it’s what you do with the injury that defines who you are,” Tom Agans said.  

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