Chemics’ Hoon reflects on end-of-season injury

When high school spring sports returned last month, Emersen Hoon was so excited to represent Midland High on the softball field again. So excited to compete for the Saginaw Valley League and District Championships in the sport she loves. And, perhaps more importantly, so excited to be playing alongside his good friend and teammate Gabby Schloop again.

Unfortunately for Hoon and the chemists, all of those plans changed in the blink of an eye – and in the blink of an eye.

Two bones, in fact.

Hoon, the gifted junior second baseman from Midland, was trying to beat a field single against Freeland on April 22 when a collision with the Falcons first baseman resulted in Hoon breaking both a shin bone (bone tibia) and a fibula (calf bone) in his leg and the end of his season almost before it really begins.

“I was running in the first as hard as I can … and it was kind of a bad pitch in the first, so the first baseman had to go over the sack (to catch it), and his foot went out. is found on the other. side of the bag, “Hoon recalls.” When I stepped on the bag, I hit his leg on mine, my foot got stuck on the bag and hit his. , and my leg broke.

“… I saw it (was broken) when I was falling. I fell pretty fast, but from my recollection I saw it was crooked when I was going down,” she added. . “It hurt at first, just a sharp pain. I guess I must have a pretty high pain tolerance, because I just looked up at our first baseman, Sue Forbes, and said : ‘It’s broken. I know it’s broken.’ “

Ironically, and certainly impressively, Hoon admitted to being more angry than hurt in the moment.

“I was so angry. I wasn’t even worried about the pain then, because I knew I would be out for the season,” she recalls. “I think I was definitely in kind of a shock, but I really knew what was going on. My leg was pounding me a bit, but it was my thighs and hips that were really aching, because I was. sitting in a weird position, and my hips wouldn’t allow me to put weight on that leg.

“… It didn’t hurt as much as it sounds,” she added. “Everyone was amazed at the way I handled it. A lot of people told me they heard it break, but I didn’t hear it, thank God.”

Midland coach Matt Starling said that when he saw Hoon hit the ground hard and didn’t appear right away, he knew something was seriously wrong.

“No doubt about it. Emersen doesn’t just go down like that. She’s a pretty tough kid,” Starling noted. “By the time I ran from the third baseman’s box to (the field), she told everyone she knew it was broken.

“… It’s the worst part of sports training – seeing kids get injured. And it was only seven games in the season,” he added. “It was difficult to take as a coach, but it was much worse for Emersen and for his teammates.”

Starling marveled at Hoon’s tenacity immediately after the injury.

“It was a swinging decay type situation, with the pitcher throwing the ball at first base. The pitch went up the line, and the first baseman crossed the sack too much, and their legs got tangled, and (her leg) just broke, “Starling recalls.” As soon as it happened I knew it was bad. But she never shed a tear through it all.

“I know his teammates shed tears, and I think some people in the crowd did too,” he added. “But she held on to it all.”

Hoon underwent surgery to repair the break just four hours later, stayed overnight in the hospital, and returned home with a splint on her fractured leg, into which a rod and screws were inserted for the help to heal properly. Four days later, the splint came off and since then she has been working on rehabilitation of the leg.

“They didn’t put it in a cast, which surprised me, but the doctor told me the rod was like a cast,” she said. “After the splint came off, I was still protecting it, and it’s still painful and stiff. But I’m really trying to work it out and do the exercises that they gave me to do, because I want to. be back (at field softball) as soon as possible.

“It’s going really well. A lot of people have told me that they didn’t even know I had a broken leg,” she added. “I can’t walk on it yet, but I can bend it.”

Hoon said she was told it would take between one and three months before she could walk on her leg again, and that it would likely take her at least six months before she could play softball again – which means she will be missing. not only the rest of the chemists season, but also its summer travel season.

“I think maybe around August or September (I can start playing again), and I hope it will be sooner, but I don’t want to rush,” she said, adding that she would start soon. physical therapy. .

Following Hoon’s loss, the Chemics moved Haley Worsley from junior college to play second base. And, while Worsley did a good job of filling, Starling admitted that it’s hard to replace Hoon’s considerable defensive prowess, instinct and softball IQ.

“Haley Worsley … is an exceptional and talented kid, but everyone on the team has to (step in to) replace Emersen. It’s not just Haley’s job alone. … (Worsley) is a player. very talented, and she’s young, but she’s doing great, “Starling said, adding that Hoon is” a machine on the base and a pest on the base paths. “

“She puts a lot of pressure on the defense because she runs so well and has such good instincts on the basepaths,” he noted. “As a coach you miss that, and you miss her competitiveness too. … And she’s an exceptional defender. She can cover both goals on a stroke of heart, and she makes double plays, and all. the world knows she is an exceptional defender. “

Starling has stated that Hoon was one of her team leaders before her injury, and he applauded her for continuing in the role.

“She was taking on more of a leadership role this year, and I give her all the credit in the world, because she continued to do so,” he said. “She has a positive influence in the canoe. It’s exciting to see her continue in this role, even from the canoe.”

Hoon said it was not possible for him to make it to road games with the team because his leg would not allow him to ride in a vehicle for significant distances. During this time, she enjoyed attending home games and providing support – and even words of wisdom at times.

“It’s good to be back with the girls, and I love to cheer them on. I learn a lot on the bench and try to think of it as a learning experience, ”she noted. “It definitely made me appreciate what I’m capable of (when I’m healthy), and it made me appreciate my love for the game. I try to keep a good attitude about it.

“… I try to remind the girls that after every fight, even if you go in and out, just to be grateful.” And if you have to sit down for a round or more just be thankful, because at least it’s not your entire season, ”she added. “I try to let the girls learn from me, and I really try to help them.”

Of course, that includes Hoon’s young understudy, Worsley.

“I try to help Haley as much as I can. She’s always learning, so I try to help her when I see things, I try to give her (advice on) things that I know, ”Hoon said.

Hoon admitted that the one thing he missed most in the game over the past few weeks was to be on the pitch alongside Schloop, the Chemics senior shortstop and the other half of the middle ground. smooth terrain of the MHS.

“The hard part was knowing that Gabby and I wouldn’t have our last season to play together in midfield. We play so well together, and our bond has improved so much this year,” said Hoon. “We had time to develop that bond, and this was going to be our year, and we only got to play six games together.

“And Gabby was great when I broke my leg. She was there with me, holding my hand, and she felt so bad. She wanted us to have this year together too,” Hoon added. “I’m glad it’s not my last year and that I can play next year, but it’s still difficult, because she’s my middle partner on the pitch and it’s her last year, and that makes it difficult. “

Despite being relegated to watching from the sidelines, Hoon said she hopes her teammates have a memorable season in her absence.

“I just want them to go far into the Districts and have a good track record. The team has done well so far, and I think they’re doing a great job. I think Haley (Worsley) does a good job intervening, and the girls work really well together as a team, ”she said.

Hoon added that she would like to see high school softball incorporate a second orange colored first base bag that the runner steps on while the first baseman keeps his foot on the white colored inner bag – a system that has been in place for travel and leisure for years.

“I think I’m going to try to make a case for that orange bag, because if we had it, I would still be playing right now,” she said. “I know it’s college softball, but different schools are at different levels, and some girls are still learning (how to cover the sack).

“Having an orange bag wouldn’t be such a big change, and that rule would be a good thing to add, as it would prevent a lot of injuries,” she added.

For his part, Starling said he hopes to see Hoon return to action to some extent sooner rather than later.

“I hope she is thinking about participating in something maybe this winter, but it really depends on her and her leg,” he noted. “She’s a competitive kid and a great athlete, and Midland High needs her to play sports.”

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About Lillie Berry

Lillie Berry

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