Viking Saga

Caitlyn O’Dea: A Comeback Story

Caitlyn O’Dea’s road back to recovery after tearing her ACL and meniscus last season

Ethan Hibbard

One year after tearing her ACL and meniscus in an away soccer game versus Killingly, Caitlin O’Dea is back in action for her senior year as varsity captain. Last October, in her junior season, O’ Dea
went down mid-game and was brought to the
hospital in an ambulance. This experience
was nothing new to her, as just the year before,
she had torn her meniscus on the same side.
“I don’t remember much after the injury,
everything kind of blurred together. I

remember being at the hospital and my
results came back and I was in denial. I was
like ‘I’m fine. Nothing’s wrong. I’m going to

be playing tomorrow,’ because
it felt fine. It didn’t feel like I
tore it or anything,” said O’Dea.
From the start, O’Dea
was determined to get back
to game speed. She began
physical therapy before her
surgery in hopes of losing less
muscle. She continued up until
the surgery in November, and
just one day after the surgery,
she was back in physical
therapy training again.
“In the beginning I was
like, ‘let’s do this. Let’s get
back to normal.’ In the middle, it was tough
to stay positive and think, ‘you will
get better. You will get out of this,’
because there are days where you
think, ‘Why am I doing the same
thing over and over again when I can’t
even touch a ball for four months?’
A lot of the process was way more
mental than physical,” said O’Dea.
“Like everything else, there are
good and bad days, but no matter
the day, she worked hard to get
back to 100 percent. Seeing her
work to get back to that field with
no fear was inspiring. She worked
hard to get back to what makes her
happiest, playing with her team,”
said twin sister, senior Ally O’Dea.
In her time spent getting back to normal,
O’Dea missed her entire premier soccer season
with her club team, the Connecticut Rush.

On top of that, she was unable to play in
the state championship game, a game that
occurred just two days after her surgery.
“Seeing Cate on the sideline was
disappointing. I know how bad she wanted to
be out there to physically help the team, but she
hid that disappointment and stayed positive
for us. She’s such a hard worker with a positive
attitude, and we definitely missed her out on
that championship field,” said teammate and
longtime friend, sophomore Abbie Belleville.
The disappointment of having to sit on
the sidelines for the big game fueled her to
continue working. By May. she was cleared
to begin practicing with the team again. She
started in the pre-season scrimmage against
Ledyard, her first game in over 10 months.
“I was a little nervous, but after the
whistle blew it was all adrenaline,” said
O’dea. “I remember I got the first assist
and then scored the next goal, and
that’s when it was like, ‘yeah, I’m back.’”

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