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Overcoming Adversity as a Team

Time and time again, Mavericks have proven to be both resilient and courageous despite many setbacks

Colorado Mesa University’s Women’s Basketball team has received multiple blows this past year, with a total of seven ACL injuries amongst the team leading to lengthy recoveries and less playing time.

Two such student-athletes who have overcome major injuries are sophomore Josee Steadman and freshman Brooke Slymen. Both players had their first season as Mavericks cut unexpectedly short.

On the first day of preseason her freshman year, Steadman tore her ACL, lateral meniscus and medical meniscus. Thankfully the CMU athletic training program was able to get her an MRI right away and scheduled an appointment with the world-renowned Steadman Clinic in Vail. She underwent surgery within two weeks of her injury and spent the next two weeks recovering at home before returning to CMU.

Steadman’s long recovery process came to an end a little over two months ago when she was fully cleared to play 14 months after surgery. “The transition back to playing requires a lot of patience and celebrating small victories. Every week I see improvement in my movement, quality, strength and overall trust of my knee,” said Steadman. She attributes her recovery to working with the CMU athletic training program and months of physical therapy.

Similarly, Slymen was injured shortly after the start of her freshman year. On September 29, 2022, she tore her PCL after a hard fall during practice. Thankfully, surgery wasn’t necessary and she was able to recover through physical therapy and treatment and now only has to wear a knee brace when playing.

Slymen’s first game back was on January 6, 2023 against Chadron State. “The transition back to playing has definitely had its ups and downs, but each week brings steady improvement,” Slymen said. “It’s just as much of a mental battle as it is a physical one. I feel confident that all the work I've put into my recovery has helped make the transition back a little easier, and I'm blessed to have a great support system on and off the court.”

“We do not take for granted the time and ability we have to play,” said Steadman. “All of us realize how lucky we are to play basketball and are grateful to be able to.”

Slymen echoed Steadman’s sentiment saying, “The number of knee injuries… has been something where we have had to push through the adversity together as a team. It hasn't stopped us from continuing to work together and fight for our goal to finish the season on top. I think we have become closer because of it and used it as an opportunity to play for each other.”


Written by Madelynn Fellet