The Student News Site of Walnut Hills High School

The Chatterbox

The Student News Site of Walnut Hills High School

The Chatterbox

The Student News Site of Walnut Hills High School

The Chatterbox


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Beyond the field

Koch finds recovery after tearing both ACLs’
Used with permission of Karen Vance
Koch was forced to play lacrosse wearing a brace to protect her torn ACL.

Every day athletes are faced with challenges such as stress, schoolwork and fear of injury.

To an extent, injury can be prevented. Athletes can take many precautions to stop injuries from happening but unfortunately tragic things like tearing an ACL happen all the time. Sylvie Koch, ‘24 tore hers in 2020, causing her to be unable to finish her freshman lacrosse season. 

“It was a pretty good freshman year. I didn’t make it through the whole year, I got hurt at the end of the season,” Koch said.

Koch didn’t let the sudden injury stop her though. She got back in the gym and continued her physical therapy weekly. Unfortunately, at the beginning of her sophomore year she tore her ACL again in her other knee, thereby ending her season. 

“Then I was out of my sophomore and junior year because I tore my other ACL, so I’ve only ever played one season on JV in ninth grade,” Koch said.

All of the injuries had a negative effect on Koch’s mental health. Not being able to play the sport she had grown to love her freshman year was tough on her. 

“My mental health was really on the decline,” Koch said. “I had been back for a month after working so hard to get back from my first injury and then I tore my other ACL a month later, so my mental health was in such a bad place. It was one of the biggest challenges of recovery.”

Koch’s injury became a bigger part of her life than the game of lacrosse itself. She spent days upon days in physical therapy. One person who helped her to overcome this obstacle was her coach.

“I got closer with my coach Janice Donaldson,” Koch said.  “She just really inspired me to keep going. She would meet with me for coffee whenever I was down about being hurt and she would just continue to tell me that I’m going to be able to make it [and] I’m going to be able to do it. She also had injuries throughout her high school and college career. She was kind of like an inspiration to me.”

Along with Koch’s coach, who got her through this hopeless injury-centered time, she utilized a method of surrounding herself with positivity. Keeping a healthy environment was important to her. 

“I began surrounding myself with a good community and trusting God that I was gonna make it through my injury,” Koch said. “He was going to make a way for me to keep staying joyful through such painful and mentally painful recovery periods.”

With so much time on her hands from being injured, Koch began to pick up a hobby she once loved. 

“I’ve played piano for a long time, but I didn’t start loving it until I had nothing to do. I have a lesson with my teacher every week,” Koch said. “I go to the gym a lot too. I have to recover until I grow my muscle mass, but I’ve definitely started going to the gym pretty often.” 

Staying on the sidelines was also tough for Koch.

“I would always wish I was out there,” Koch said. 

One bright spot for Koch was when she received an offer for lacrosse at Lee University, even though she only played one complete season of lacrosse. 

“I felt accomplished,” Koch said. “And just like that, my hard work paid off.” 

Koch plays for LIFT lacrosse club alongside her WHHS team to keep her skills sharp. (Used with permission from Karen Vance)

Koch plans to attend Lee University for college, pursuing her lacrosse career, while also making time for her hobbies, minoring in piano and majoring in pre-physical therapy. After spending so much time around athletic trainers and being in physical therapy, she became inspired to make a profession out of it.

I have been in physical therapy for almost two years and my dad is a physical therapist,” Koch said. “He definitely inspired me but then also being in the [training] office for almost two years, made me want to go into that profession.” 

This upcoming season will be her last in high school before continuing to Lee University on her scholarship. After all of the effort Koch put in her work has ‘paid off.’

“I’m really excited but I’m really nervous because I’ve only ever made it through one season of lacrosse without getting hurt,” Koch said. “So I’m very nervous. I have to remember I can’t control what happens. I’m just trying to go into it with excitement.” 


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About the Contributor
Makenzie Ellison, Sports Writer
In her second year as a staff member, Makenzie Ellison is overjoyed to work as a student writer. Ellison intends to write amazing, heartfelt, and unity building stories for the Chatterbox.  Ellison also participates in junior varsity women's basketball and varsity track.  She hopes to attend an Ivy or HBCU college and have a successful career in her near future.  When Ellison is not focused on college aspirations she enjoys reading and hanging out with friends and family.
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