West junior returns to her team after a traumatic injury
By Anthony Schlass, Current Staff
After spending a year sidelined, Rachel Walecki returned to the soccer field in May.
Walecki tore her ACL during her sophomore soccer season and it’s been a long battle to get back on the field with her West teammates.
“Last year in a tournament, I was going to score and I cut the ball over and I could feel my knee pop and I went straight to the ground,” said Walecki, now a junior. “I went to the doctor the following Monday and all he did was twist my knee and he said I definitely tore my ACL and medial meniscus.”
Walecki had surgery in June 2015, and she was determined not to let this setback keep her out.
“I started physical therapy right away. I was having problems 2-3 months in with the medial meniscus and I kept having a lot of pain so I saw another doctor about a possible meniscus transplant because the pain was not going away. He told me to tough it out and that’s what I did,” Walecki said.
Walecki was out for 11 months, much longer than expected. “They said the timeline is 6-12 months, but because I was having problems my recovery was a lot longer,” Walecki said.
“I could feel my knee pop and I went straight to the ground.”
– Rachel Walecki
She was able to stay focused throughout this recovery process.
“I had to work a lot harder to get back out there. Rehab with a physical therapist was 4-5 months and then I did my own thing in the gym 3-4 days a week. I would go and do legs and whatever I could to get the strength back in my legs. Worked on cardio too so I could be there with my team,” Walecki said.
Walecki’s efforts has helped her earn the respect of her teammates. “Rachel is the most hardworking girl on the team and the best person to be around on the field,” junior Abby Rudd said.
“She works so hard, is a great leader and a great example to follow,” said junior defender Megan Core.
Coach Kyle Cruse is also impressed with what he has seen from Walecki. “She is very hard working and does all of the intangible things on the field. She is a great practice player, wants to get better all the time and the best thing about her is that she is the same player post surgery,” Cruse said.
Walecki has the mindset necessary to be successful. “Goals moving forward are to play as hard as I can and help my team out and be the best asset I can be,” she said.
Walecki saw her first varsity action since her injury on May 3 when the Spartans took on West Bend East.
The Spartans open playoff action tonight at Pewaukee at 7 p.m.
(Top image: Rachel Walecki [middle] is congratulated by teammates. Photographs courtesy of Michele Kasik.)