Being Strong in the Face of Debilitating Injury – Noelle Schiller of Cal Track

2020 / 04 / 15

“Injuries can cause athletes to feel as if they have lost part of their identity, but they can also help athletes grow. I ruptured my achilles during the first outdoor meet of the 2019 season. I went from practicing 5 days a week for 11 years to not being able to walk for three and a half months. Initially, I found myself lacking a productive schedule, struggling to focus in school, and feeling mentally drained. I didn’t want to have to depend on my crutches, the golf cart around campus, and other people to get through each day.”

“As time went on, however, I learned the importance of embracing the ambiguities I was encountering. I was able to dedicate more time to school, support my teammates at meets, participate in new hobbies, and, most importantly, give myself time to heal mentally and physically. I believe that my injury not only pushed me to find an identity outside of my sport, but it also motivated me to approach each milestone in my recovery process with the 2021 season in mind.”


“As a result of the spread of COVID-19, sports seasons were canceled and public spaces closed down. The work ethic of my team is incredible, and I believe that we would have had a huge amount of personal bests this season. As track and field athletes, we spend hours each day on the track and in the gym with the purpose of maintaining and/or bettering our strength and speed. With tracks and gyms closed, it is really important to find methods to keep up with training so that everyone’s hard work this past year doesn’t go down the drain. While this time is so important to spend with loved ones, it is also a great chance to develop fun ways of getting workouts in without the resources we normally have available.”

About the Photographer

Erin Haar is a junior at the University of California, Berkeley pursuing a degree in American Studies with a minor in Journalism. Her creativity extends to many aspects of the media landscape, especially in her current roles as a Video Intern for Cal Athletics and a writer for the Daily Californian. Erin hopes to use her artistic abilities to empower college athletes by giving them the platform to share their experiences through visual storytelling. She wishes to give those in the athletic community the access to break down stereotypes and establish new perceptions in creative ways.

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