LILacrosseNews.com, Posted 4/7/14
She has endured so many surgeries they stopped counting after 10.
But Caitlyn Kearns, an 8th grader at Wantagh Middle School (N.Y.), refused to stop fighting to get back on her feet and onto the lacrosse field.
Now, just 10 months after being struck by a car and nearly losing her right leg, Kearns is playing lacrosse and currently is in second place in a nationwide voting (that ends at noon Tuesday, see link below) after being nominated for the USA Today/National Guard Most Inspirational Athlete of 2014.
Kearns suffered a broken leg and also severe nerve and vein damage, which led to a severe case of compartment syndrome. She had multiple surgeries to transplant veins from her good leg into her broken leg to get blood flow back into her leg. The surgeries worked at first but then failed. After considering amputation, a surgeon at Presbyterian Hospital in New York City helped her blood flow back and the leg was saved.
After five months of rehab, hard work, blood and guts, the 14-year-old began playing for her club progra, Tem Elevate, in January. This spring she has been practicing with the Middle School team as it prepares for the season. She still goes through rehab three times a week and can’t straighten her toes.
Kearns’ coach at Team Elevate, Dave Kotowski, said she has endured as many as 15 surgeries and never complained. He nominated her for the honor.
“She’s a kid that has been through so much adversity,” he said. “She has never complained and once; all she has done is work hard and keep telling me she is going to be back on the field. That she was able to come back in such a short time is simply amazing.”
Kearns, somewhat shy, said, “It’s amazing and I’m so thankful and I’m really honored people are voting for me.”