First Posted: 3/11/2009
A little more than a year ago, Lindsay Castevens was lying face down on a soccer field, wondering if she would ever be able to play again after she heard and felt three separate pops in her right knee during one of her Stokes Spirit games.
I remember playing against this one girl and she was being very, very rough, Castevens recalled. I was trying to turn and my foot just stuck. The next thing I knew I was on the ground. I was pulling out the grass and I was screaming bloody murder. I thought they were going to have to amputate my leg.
Fast forward to the present and Castevens, a freshman, has scored nearly as many goals as Mount Airy did all of last season in just two games. The Granite Bears mustered nine goals last season, while Castevens has found the net nine times this year. She makes it hard to imagine that her anterior cruciate ligament was snapped and torn from the knee.
A laundry list of setbacks could have easily derailed her season. Part of her hamstring was removed to replace the torn ligament. There was the physical therapy and visits to local chiropractor Adam Delp. She had to have a second surgery to clear out scar tissue. Despite it all, Castevens made it back to the field two months ahead of the year she was told to expect the recovery to take. Once she was back on the field, another problem surfaced.
I totally forgot how to run, Castevens said. I was like, What do I do? You dont know your knee. You feel like youre playing with somebody elses leg.
Castevens feared her knee would give out if she played basketball or ran. If she did, the knee could swell. That insecurity gave way to determination after Castevens became convinced she could overcome her injury. One of her motivations was she wanted badly to play high school soccer. Her injury helped out in a way because it made her practice with her left foot.
Nowadays, Castevens glides down the field without much trouble, although she says she is still not 100 percent healthy. One of the few reminders of the injury is a clunky black brace wrapped around her knee. She doesnt wear the brace in practice, but she feels more comfortable with it on during games.
The Mount Airy soccer program has not had much success since its inception in 2000. Coach Andrew Howard knew of Castevens and hoped she could be the type of player to help right the program.
I was kind of banking on her to be this good, Howard said. All we really needed last year was a little bit of offense and I was hoping she was going to be the one.
But its not just goals that Castevens brings to the team. When shes scoring and garnering the attention of defenses, that leaves other players open. Ericka Watson scored four goals all of last season. This year, she has already matched that sum.
Its kind of like in football when youve got one good wide receiver on one side it opens up the field for the other guy, Howard said.
Despite being a freshman, Castevens brings experience to the Granite Bears. She has been playing organized soccer for 11 years and plays for teams in Greensboro, Winston-Salem and Stokes County.
Shes probably played longer than most of the other girls, Howard said. She brings that knowledge of the game to the other girls. She can help out on the field.
Now that the surgery and rehabilitation is behind her, Castevens is enjoying her first high school soccer season. Her goals are simple.
I just want us to win more, she said.
And not get hurt again.