Fazzari staying optimistic in recovery
ST. CATHARINES, Ont. – Michelle Fazzari is focusing on her future as she recovers from a knee injury she suffered in the gold medal match at the Commonwealth Games in April.
In the 62 kg finals against Nigeria’s Aminat Adeniyi, Fazzari’s lateral collateral ligament (LCL) blew out, causing her to be unable to finish the match.
“After my first matches I was so happy, I wasn’t sore or in pain, and I wanted to have fun in the final. About 15 seconds into the match I felt my knee lock, and when my opponent took a shot there were five or six big bangs, and I couldn’t move.”
Despite the immensely painful injury, Fazzari made it to the podium to collect her silver medal.
“I was in a lot of physical pain (on the podium), but I was also thinking about the huge recovery ahead. I knew it was bad, I knew my ACL was torn, but I had no idea what the damage past that was.”
Fazzari, from Hamilton, Ont., was coming off a year to remember in 2017 after she captured a bronze medal at the Senior World Championships, and was named Golden Horseshoe Athlete of the Year
The 30-year-old had surgery in May to have her LCL, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) and menisci repaired.
“Recovery is going really well. I’m doing a ton of rehab and gaining mobility and range of motion for the first three months,” said Fazzari. “It will be stronger than it has been in a long time. After range of motion and mobility I’ll go into strengthening and plyo exercises.”
The knee problems started three years ago for Fazzari, and she has dealt with a number of injuries since then.
“The first three months of recovery are going to be pretty slow. I’m pretty excited to be able to walk on my own and do a light workout.”
Fazzari has no plans to rush her return.
“I’ll do my reassessments as the year goes on. I’m more concerned about healing properly than getting back quickly. It’s getting better every day.”
“I have a good support network and team behind me. I’ve come back from a major injury before, so I know it’s possible.”
Fazzari sees the injury as another part of her wrestling journey.
“This is the path I have to take. I don’t think I’ve ever had an easy path. When you want to get somewhere there’s always speed bumps, but it could always be worse. I know my knee’s going to be better than it was before.”
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