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Grace Brannen ’17 commits to play D1 soccer at Concordia University despite two knee surgeries, still offered spot for fall 2017

Lea Voytovich, News Editor

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After suffering two ACL injuries in the last two years, Grace Brannen ’17 committed to playing DI soccer at Concordia University on April 12, National Spring Signing Day.

 “I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to play soccer in college, but after my second injury, I decided that I couldn’t go into college and not play soccer,” Brannen said. “I realized that I am not playing my senior year in high school, and I love soccer. I didn’t think it through before this recent injury, but I can’t go another year without playing.”

In the spring of 2015, during the Hinsdale Central girls varsity game, Brannen was tackled from the side and was diagnosed with a torn ACL. After about a six month recovery, Brannen returned and played club season with Oakbrook Soccer Club. During the 2016

winter season, Brannen made a sharp cut while running and re-tore her previous injury at a club practice. 

“When I cut, I knew I tore my ACL again,” Brannen said. “I heard a pop and went to the doctor soon after who diagnosed the tear.”

The first surgery was completed using Brannen’s patella tendon. With the second injury, the surgery had to be done with a cadaver tendon. Her recovery time is nine to 12 months, which will include physical therapy three times a week to strengthen her muscles around the knee. This will be followed by increasing her flexibility and endurance.

Brannen cannot play soccer or have any physical contact until she is fully cleared by her doctor, but she will be playing Center Defense for the Concordia team after her recovery.

“I love playing defense with Grace,” teammate Megan Bobroski ’17 said. “She is so reliable, so I know if I make any mistakes Grace will be there to cover for me. I’m very excited to see her go on to play at the collegiate level.”

Though Brannen’s decision was last minute, the process started during her junior year. Concordia scouted Brannen by watching her club games junior year and reached out to her, Brannen said.

“After my recent injury, I contacted the coach and told him what had happened. They were very understanding and said they would still love to have me on the team,” Brannen said. “The coach said he knew I would come back strong as ever, just as I did the first time.”

Concordia University has an enrollment of about 5,134 students and is located in Riverforest, Ill.

“My idea of college was the opposite of Concordia, but I am happy with my decision,” Brannen said. “Between the size of the school and the structured schedule of being a part of the team, I think it was the best fit for me.”

 

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The voice of Lyons Township students for more than 100 years
Grace Brannen ’17 commits to play D1 soccer at Concordia University despite two knee surgeries, still offered spot for fall 2017