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An Episcopal, co-educational 100% boarding school in Middletown, Delaware for grades 9 – 12

A Saints Way to Recovery

Athletics is a large part of students’ lives at St. Andrews. Participating in sports comes with the highs of being active, part of a team, and winning, but it also comes with the lows, specifically sustaining an injury. Having to miss out on a sport that has been a part of an athlete’s experience for so many years and dealing with the stress of healing and rehabbing while still being in classes is challenging.  Two varsity athletes shared their experiences about the process of maintaining a balance between schoolwork, recovery, and mental health as they work to return to the sport they love.     

Nick Oxnam ’22 has played varsity football and lacrosse since his freshman year and has been a major contributor to the team. In November of 2021 during the final game of the football regular season against Wilmington Friends, Nick went to take on a block but slipped on the wet field and folded his leg, injuring his meniscus. The frustration and fear of not knowing whether he would be able to play in his first playoff game in his high school career was unmatched. After seeing a doctor he was able to wrap his knee and wear a brace to play in the playoff game before he had to get surgery, “I’m just glad I got to play in my first playoff game of high school” said Nick. While he was able to finish his football season, lacrosse was only a handful of months away. Nick was determined to be able to play one last time before going off to college. Fortunately, the surgery went well and he was able to ditch the crutches after 4 weeks and finally his brace after 6 weeks. Little did Nick know the surgery was the easiest part of the process. He has been following a regimented rehab program from his physical therapist and working daily with Mr. Wood, to build the muscle back around his knee. Nick has been meticulous about keeping the rest of his body in shape and does upper body strength training to stay strong in preparation for the lacrosse season. Through his recovery, he made friends with the stationary bike in the field house to get in cardio. His dedication paid off and he exceeded the goals set by his physical therapist, unfortunately, he has not made it back onto the field this year but he has not given up hope. While he is waiting for his return to the field Nick has found another role. “I have taken on the position of glorified ball-boy,” he shared and went on to explain, “it entails running the team's substitutions and helping the coaches with games.” Nick has been able to find strength within himself through his recovery with help from his teammates, doctors, and the St. Andrews community. 

This winter Rosie Soriano ’23 felt the low of sports when her knee gave out and she tore her ACL, MCL, and meniscuses in the first minute of a basketball game against Tatnall. Rosie has been a varsity basketball player since freshman year and was co-captain for this season. While on the ground and in the days after, it raced across her mind that might be the last time she steps onto the court for the Saints. While this reality was difficult to grapple with, Rosie focused on what she could control in the short term. She learned to walk with a brace a few weeks after her injury and was able to return to school for some time before having surgery. It was not easy but Rosie continued to control what she could. Every day during the designated sports time, she would be in the gym exercising her leg and knee to build back strength so she would have a faster recovery post-surgery. Not being able to participate in the same activities as her classmates and having to constantly worry about the physical state of her leg was incredibly taxing on her mental health. The uncertainty of recovery left her wondering if she would ever be able to have a normal final two years of highschool. Before she left for surgery Rosie shared, “I'm worried about coming back to school after being gone for so long but I know my friends will be there to welcome me back with open arms and hearts.” On Saturday, April 9th, 12 days after a successful surgery, Rosie returned to SAS and was welcomed to a pizza party thrown by her friends. She is focussing on rehabilitation until she has built back all the strength in her leg. Since she is still in the early stages of rehab playing sports next year is still up in the air, however, she hopes to recover in time to get back on the basketball court for her senior year. Rosie says “My goals are to remain patient with myself and stay positive through it all.” 

The supportive community at St. Andrew’s plays an important role in an athlete’s recovery. Instead of returning to a home where an athlete can feel secluded from everyone else, on campus they have to continue to be a part of the community. With the encouragement from Mr. Wood, friends, and their peers, Nick and Rosie were able to stay dedicated to their recovery. While they haven’t been able to play on the field this spring they were able to find a new place in the community while their injuries heal.