Injury puts a premature halt to athlete’s soccer career

Defender Tori James taking the field before the injury. Photo courtesy of Frank James.

By: Matthew Johnson

After an injury in practice during fall break, senior defender Tori James was unable to play in the last three soccer games of the season.

During practice on Monday, Oct. 19, James was guarding her opponent from a pass when she broke her leg. She tried to kick the ball, but her foot slid across the top causing her leg to twist and break the fibula near the ankle.

“It sounded like more than one pop,” said James. “The coach told me later he heard the pop off the field.”

The coach and other players immediately ran to her side.

James went straight to the emergency room, where they determined it was an oblique break. The bone did not have to be placed back together, because it was a fracture, but the swelling was severe. Due to swelling around the bone, James had to wear a soft cast.  She will have to wait two and a half weeks to have it x-rayed to make sure the bone is growing back together.

James was unable to play in the final three game of the year against Presbyterian, Charleston Southern and UNC Asheville. During the games she sat behind the bench to make sure the ball wouldn’t hit her leg if it traveled out of bounds.

Tor James Photo courtesy of Frank James.
Tor James
Photo courtesy of Frank James.

She has been a soccer player since the age of four years old. With a long history in the sport, James said it has been difficult for her to watch the games and not be able to play. It was difficult to take in that she would not be able to finish her career with the sport she has played her whole life.

Since the accident, however, James has felt the love and support of the Gardner-Webb community.  Teammates have helped her complete everyday tasks that she cannot do by herself because of her injury, such as getting to class on time. Her professors have also been understanding of her situation, and have been working with her on classwork; the medicine James takes for pain relief often makes her drowsy, which slows down the process of finishing school work.

“Someone got me a balloon, three cups of Dunkin coffee and lots of candy,” said James, “they are so sweet.”

James plans to graduate with a biology major and a Spanish Minor in May and wants to pursue a Physician’s Assistant degree after graduation.