Winona eighth grader Murry Catherine Alderman wouldn’t let a little thing like three surgeries stop her from playing soccer and tennis and running track and cross country.
The surgeries resulted from a mishap in cheerleading practice last summer.
“I was the flyer and I fell.”
She landed on her left elbow, breaking a bone.
A screw was implanted in her elbow in the first surgery, resulting in nerve damage. She had no feeling in two fingers on her left hand, the pinky and ring finger, and could not straighten them.
The second surgery removed the screw. “They thought that would make my fingers go back to normal.” It didn’t, so there was a third surgery to move the nerve. “My fingers all straightened and I could feel them.”
But there’s another problem. The elbow will not bend completely, so she will probably need a fourth operation.
“They might have to break it again.” Ouch!!
She said the elbow is a problem only in tennis. She’s right handed, but uses the left arm on her two-handed backhand.
“I have to try to compensate and make do.”
Alderman returned from the injury to run cross country, finishing 68th at the MHSAA Class 3A state meet. She plays soccer as a midfielder and forward in the winter and doubles up in the spring with tennis and track. She plays Number 1 girls doubles with freshman Molly Tompkins in tennis and runs the 800, 1600, 3200 and a leg on the 4 by 800 relay in track.
Her three coaches were laudatory. Tennis coach Lance VanHorn commented on her dedication in matches and practice. “She always gives me a good effort.”
Track and cross country coach Chris McRae marveled at her speedy return to competition during cross country season following her first surgery.
“I thought when it happened we would lose her for the whole season. I thought the earliest she might get back was the meet before the state meet, but she ended up coming back earlier than that. She did not miss a whole lot after the injury, and she has shown a lot of diligence in continuing to work hard to get better.
“I lost kids before due to injuries in other sports, but I never lost a kid to a cheerleading injury. That was definitely the first of my career.”
Soccer coach Michael Cox said “She has really grown as a player and as a person. She’s a leader. I’m proud of her. She was a big part of the success we had this year.”
Alderman became a starter on the soccer team as a seventh grader. She isn’t sure how many goals she had this year, but said “I scored a good many, probably about eight.”
With spring sports cancelled, Alderman keeps in shape by running two miles most days with Bailey Holly, a soccer teammate.
“It’s very sad,” she said of the Coronavirus pandemic that has closed schools and brought a halt to sports. “I was looking forward to the season. I feel for all the seniors.”
How does Alderman find time for all the sports and her school work? By not wasting time. “In class, if I have any extra time, I’ll make sure to use it wisely.” When it comes to studying for tests “I don’t wait until the night before.”
By the way, she is still a cheerleader.