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Reversal of fortune

Hart grad Megan Ford got off to a quick start in college, then injury struck

Posted: February 10, 2009 12:29 a.m.
Updated: February 10, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Hart graduate Megan Ford sits on a bench with her hand on top of a knee brace. Ford tore her ACL Jan. 10.

 
Athletics are great for teaching life lessons.

But perhaps the best lessons come when athletics are taken away.

Hart graduate and Cal Poly Pomona freshman basketball player Megan Ford has found this to be true.

On Jan. 10, in an NCAA Division II game against the University of California, San Diego, Ford was undercut while going for a rebound shortly after halftime.

Upon landing, she tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee - the same knee she injured as a sophomore at Hart High.

"I didn't even think my leg was attached anymore," Ford recalls.

She had felt that it was just a matter of time before she re-injured the knee, but noted that nothing could have prepared her for the pain.

Nothing could have prepared the team either.

"I think I was out on the court before she hit the ground," Cal Poly Pomona head coach Scott Davis says. "I think the initial reaction when she went down was, ‘What do we do?'"

In his second year with the program, Davis has big plans for Ford.

Having averaged 10.5 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, Ford started in all 15 games before the injury.

The week prior, she had even earned California Collegiate Athletic Association Women's Basketball Player of the Week honors for the week of Dec. 29-Jan. 3.

During that span, she led her team to wins over Cal State Stanislaus and Chico State, in which she scored 22 points with 10 rebounds and 14 points with nine rebounds, respectively.

Ford was one of 12 incoming freshman this season.

The team will only lose three graduating seniors going into next year.

Already a leader on her team, her role will only increase as the young Broncos mature.

Not only has her play warranted the attention, it was also her attitude toward the team that distinguished her.

"When she went down, she said something to me that no one else has," Davis says. "She said she was sorry. She felt so bad that she wasn't going to be out there. It broke my heart to hear her say that."

Ford meant it.

A competitor at heart, she calls the rehabilitation and day-to-day process of watching her team practice "Chinese water torture."

"We are still a team," Ford says. "Even if you are injured, you still be there for your team and they are still there for you."

Back in high school, when she injured the knee during practice, she says she did not handle it well.

She had a hard time staying positive and took it out on the people around her.

The thought of re-injuring the knee hung over her head.

"My senior year of high school is when I was really worried about it," Ford says. "When I got to college, I almost forgot about it. It was a really rude reminder, but I'm glad it was my freshman year when it happened. Almost perfect timing."

It is an understatement to call the injury frustrating for Ford, but out of it has come a new mentality.

"I'm not a positive person at all," she says. "I'm like the biggest pessimist you'd ever find. This injury was the turning point. You know what, I just have to think positive."

Now her sights are set on her sophomore year with the Broncos, and when it comes to Ford, coach Davis' are too.

She will come back to a team that has rallied together to compensate for the loss of their center, and has collectively gotten better.

Her dedication to rehabilitation and her desire to get back on the court will speak volumes.

"I think it is going to show them how dedicated she is to our program," Davis says.

He is already thinking of new ways to use her and is trying to find a way to move her to the high post.

It is up to her to get back on the court.

"She's one of those very few people who sets goals and attacks them," Hart head coach Zach Koebel says, having coached Ford during her senior year. "From just my talking with her, one of the real disappointments for her was that she wanted to go in and become one of the best freshman in her conference."

Though she wasn't on the court for the entirety of her freshman year, she will be able to look back and see the growth in other areas.

She may yet end up being the best freshman in the CCAA.

Her surgery is scheduled for the middle of February.

Afterward, she says it will take five to six months of recovery time.


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