“I went up to block a cross,” Lue said. “I stuck my leg out and fell. When I went to get up, I turned around and I saw my foot turned in a way it shouldn’t be. Lying on the ground then, I was in so much shock.”
Head coach Eric Bell said he was impressed with Lue’s reaction to the injury.
“It was not good, but she handled it like a trooper,” Bell said. “It was a very traumatic experience for all of us.”
After the play, however, Lue was not thinking about her physical pain. Instead, she focused on the team, a quality that Lue has kept with her throughout her college career as she is now a redshirt sophomore.
“I remember asking myself if this meant I wasn’t going to be able to travel to Missouri the following week,” Lue said. “It didn’t hit me that it was that big of an injury at that moment.”
Lue suffered a compound dislocation to her right ankle. The original diagnosis gave her a minimum six-month recovery period.
It ended up taking seven months from the injury until Lue finally played in her first spring game.
A typical day of recovery began at 8:00 a.m. with rehab before her classes at 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. She’d return to the field a few minutes before practice to receive a few extra rounds of rehab. During practice, she would go through bodywork routines while specializing in muscle strength and tone.
While Lue was most worried about physically being able to compete again at the Division-1 level, Bell was worried about her mental recovery.
“The whole psychological part was the biggest part for her,” Bell said. “Overcoming that and knowing that both her and her ankle were going to be fine were huge for her.”
Lue thanked the upperclassmen for their unwavering support during her recovery process and the leader that their actions shaped her into.
“The seniors and juniors were all very helpful,” Lue said. “They were all great in making themselves available to hang out with me because I couldn’t travel with the team that season. They were very supportive, helped me get through the process and made me look forward to working every day.”
Since recovering from her injury, Lue has started every game for the past two seasons. Lue believes this is a testament to the excellence of those in the soccer program.
“All of the belief from the coaches and the trainers helped me regain my strength and confidence to get back onto the field,” Lue said. “Being a defender, I go into so many tackles, so having the confidence to do that and play in such competitive games at a high-level really speaks to all of the staff that have helped me out.”
Looking back on the injury, Lue admits she has learned a lot from the traumatic experience and has grown as both a player and a leader because of it.
“I’ve learned that watching from the bench requires you to take in everything- from the girls that are on the field to what the coaches are telling them,” Lue said. “As a leader, I think that although I was on the bench, I was able to see what things needed to be fixed and how to help them out.”
Bell agrees with Lue on her on the impact that her leadership experience has had on the team over the past two seasons.
“She has a fantastic way about herself,” Bell said. “She’s a quiet leader but very conscientious about what’s going on. Before she speaks, she’s definitely going to think about what she says, and that resonates well with the group because they know they’re going to get a genuine response from her every time she speaks.”
Lue, Bell and the Frogs return to Garvey-Rosenthal Soccer Stadium Friday night when they host the Oklahoma State Cowgirls. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.