Catamount Spirit: Megan McCallister is coming back stronger

*Published to the Western Carolina Journalist*

It was a crisp Friday, Oct. 7, night and WCU women’s soccer team was successfully battling Virginia Military Institute, when a piercing scream ripped through the air. This scream belonged to sophomore, Megan McCallister, and it ended her 2016 season.

“Oh, I knew I had broken it. There was no question about that…it was just a matter of how bad it actually was and what to do next,” said McCallister. 

McCallister was playing left wing on that October night, when she was pushed from behind and fell to her elbow. The impact from the fall put a break in her right humerus bone. This break came just after weeks of recovery from a broken radius from game one of the 2016 season.

“Everything turned very chaotic. They had to stop the game of course and it just seemed like the ambulance took forever to get there,” remembers McCallister.

The snap was seemingly heard from everyone in the stands and Stacy Miller, the head coach’s wife said that it was disgusting and unbearable to watch.

After the ambulance came and took McCallister off the field, the game continued and the Catamounts ended up winning 1-0 in double overtime with a goal from Anna Mellis and an assist from Sayres Mckenna.

“When that happened it was scary because you heard her arm crack. So we all came together as a team and talked about how we had to pull the win out for her, so we worked hard for her,” said McKenna.

McCallister had to sit out the first eight games and the last seven games of the season. However, in the five games that she did play she was a leading scorer. She helped push the Catamounts over Tennessee Tech 1-0 and started a winning streak for the team. The women’s soccer team concluded their season with an 8-12 record and four of those eight wins McCallister was on the board with a goal.

The break was mid-shaft so neither her elbow or shoulder joints were compromised but because of the break she had to be immobilized for a few months. When you are immobilized, you have to work in physical therapy to get your strength and range of motion back into the shoulder.

“It was very painful, but I knew that I wouldn’t be able to get back to play if I did not push through the pain,” explained McCallister.

A year later, McCallister is back in the starting lineup ready to help bring the Catamounts to a winning season. McCallister says she is ready to be a leader, score goals and stay healthy on and off the field.  The team is currently 5-8-1, but this does not dampen McCallister’s spirit. 

“I don’t take the game for granted, I appreciate being healthy and playing more. I want to be a leader on and off the field,” said McCallister.

She has played soccer for 16 years and still has another year to finish off her collegiate career. She wants to work on showing WCU and everyone what she can do in this season.

“It was very frustrating sitting out and on the sidelines because of the snowball of injuries. But I learned that leading from the side and being an encouraging presence was very appreciated. It humbled me and helped me grow in my faith,” said McCallister.

The next home soccer game will be Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. against Mercer.

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