Duquesne Women's Basketball
Duquesne WBB’s Wasylson Uses God’s Plan To Overcome Injuries
To say that the road has been difficult for Lauren Wasylson these past couple of seasons would serve as quite an understatement as what was initially viewed as a comeback from an ACL injury, suffered multiple additional roadblocks.
Wasylson also suffered ankle and back injuries, through her journey, but through it all has maintained positivity through her season as a Duquesne Duke.
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“A lot of people don’t talk about when you’re back from injury, they talk about the comeback and coming back and playing and making it all sound great, which it is don’t get me wrong,” she said. “I am so blessed to be back on the court, but there are peaks and valleys that you go through when you have a major injury, and my path wasn’t easy.”
After three seasons at Xavier, Wasylson returned home, a fit that has felt quite comfortable for her both on and off the court.
Upon deciding to transfer to Duquesne, there were clear boundaries laid out in case she did suffer an injury, if she would happy if basketball was unavailable to her for any length of time.
This would ultimately put to the test as an Oct. 2021 ACL injury forced her to sit out a season ago and now a master’s student her decision felt validated as she took time to adjust to her new normal.
Admittedly, Wasylson understood how busy life is for a student-athlete, but now her schedule took time to adjust to as it then consisted of rehab, focusing on schoolwork and then watching practice.
If there was any silver lining from the process it was that Wasylson was taught how much of a virtue patience truly was.
That was only further tested when she was set to be cleared in July before an ankle injury. In the Tulsa game this season, Wasylson also injured her back, another tricky setback, especially considering that she has scoliosis.
“I always want to be the type of player who always wants to see things instantly and I think me pressing that manner is not really helping me, it’s only making me more frustrated,” admitted Wasylson. “I know the player that I am, I was and am going to be, it’s just not all clicking at the same moment and it’s frustrating. Some days your body just doesn’t feel good. Being older and having these injuries it’s going to happen. Progress is happening, I’m seeing it day by day.”
The patience has only been further been tested by going through these peaks and valleys, something which Wasylson has considered the most arduous part of this journey.
Wasylson believed that she was making progress and finding her way on the court, only for the back injury to bring her back down.
This season has been an inconsistent one for Wasylson as she has found her way back both physically and mentally.
Considering how many sacrifices have made for the game she loves and continues to aspire to play overseas when her collegiate career concludes, the game has remained a safe space for her to be by herself and release the energy she desires.
“Being able to come back from an ACL and playing the sport I love made me the happiest person in the world again,” Wasylson stated. “It leads to some frustration that I am not see the results that I have put hours in for. I know that I will eventually, it’s just not happening in the moment, I just have to be patient. Although I would want my path differently and I do think about the player I could have been or might be without these injuries, I had a different path. These injuries are teaching me and making me stronger.”
During the team’s Jan. 25 win at Dayton, Wasylson scored 10 points with things beginning to click on both sides of the ball and she allowed herself to see glimpses of the player that she is, but again the very next day, the pieces needed to be put back together.
As Wasylson returns closer to full strength, she has been able to pick pieces of her game back, though now she is jumping higher, meaning shots that are going in during practice and warmups may not necessarily have the same result when the lights come on.
Wasylson has become a player who has come in off the bench and strived to make an impact, having six consecutive games in which she played for at least 15 minutes, beginning to establish herself as a consistent option, something her coach Dan Burt has desired for her.
By no means has this return been easy and the overwhelmingly positive Wasylson admits that a negative thought or two has crept into her mind, even calling herself “an unlucky duckling” at one point.
Wasylson has asked herself several times if this is the path she wanted to take, with basketball being her end goal, and any answer already ended up affirmative.
“It’s not all going to be rainbows and butterflies every single day,” she reflected. “It’s knowing the amount of love I have for this sport and not wanting to give up. I see the little things every day and get better, you have to take things as steppingstones. Whether it’s raising my leg for the first time, taking steps, those little steps help the big picture.”
Despite all of the hardships Wasylson has endured two things have been constant, support from fans, teammates, coaches alike and her smile.
It is her desire to be an inspiration both to young women as well as those facing a similar recovery from longer-term injury.
Wasylson’s desire to be a hard worker has only intensified through these injuries and she believes that tenacity will never change.
“One thing has kept me level, that I’m always going to be a happy person,” a beaming Wasylson replied. “I am blessed for this opportunity and blessed to be here. God’s got a plan ultimately and I just have to follow it. Just being myself day in and day out is not going to change.”
Great article, Zac. Best of luck to Lauren.