Written by Katie Gonzales ('14), Sports Information Assistant
Eager to be a part of history at Loras, Shaunna Weber (’16)
(Homer Glen, Ill.) joined the Loras College Lacrosse team looking forward to the inaugural season. Unfortunately, before she could step foot on the field for the team's first lacrosse match she faced a serious challenge. Weber broke both her right fibula and tibia, leaving her unable to walk, let alone run, midway through the fall semester.
"My brother was with me at the hospital and he had to call my parents to tell them that I broke two bones," Weber said. "The first thing I thought of was: I'm going to ruin their dinner; I felt terrible."
Due to the severity of the injury, Weber was forced to medically withdraw for the remainder of the semester in the fall of 2012. She returned home after a series of surgeries with her eyes set on a return to school and a lacrosse debut.
"My parents never let me quit on anything so I knew I'd come back to school and I knew I wouldn't quit on lacrosse," Weber said.
After several months at home confined to a bed, Weber returned to campus as she knew she would. The months spent at home however, did not include physical therapy – a setback that she would have to work hard to overcome.
"I didn't want to do physical therapy over the summer because it's very expensive. My parents have helped me so much, I couldn't add another thing."
Waiting until she returned to school, Weber started a recovery program with Loras College Athletic Trainer, Katie Homan. The early stages focused on the basics, specifically walking without a limp. Not only did she have to relearn simple actions like walking or running but, Weber had to learn stick skills and the lacrosse basics.
"She had to do double the work just to be up to speed with these girls," Loras College Women's Lacrosse Head Coach Emily Goetz said.
The road to recovery was a bumpy one. Hours on the field learning and playing the game coupled with the additional hours spent in the athletic training room left her with little time for anything other than school. At first, Weber didn't realize the impression she was making on her teammates.
"That's where #TeamShaunna really came from; it's just her commitment to doing this. There was no failure in her mind," Goetz said. "She was going to do this."
Her commitment and dedication to returning, to being a teammate fueled the Duhawks squad as they soared to new heights. The team set over a dozen program records, shattering those put in place a year earlier. Watching Weber overcome her injury and all the obstacles that came along with it, inspired the team as a whole, in particular Kaitlyn Kutsch (’16) (Dubuque, Iowa).
"When I find myself struggling with the frustration from my own leg issues I think of what Shaunna went through and the attitude she had through the whole process my mentality immediately changes," Kutsch said. "#TeamShaunna represents something deeper than a hashtag – it represents the mentality we all should have."
On March 29, Weber accomplished one of her biggest goals. The Duhawks held an 8-1 edge over the Fontbonne Griffins heading into the second half. With Kutsch running point, Loras worked it around before finding Weber on a cut within the eight meter mark. Before she could make a move, she was surrounded by Griffin defenders and was fouled.
On the ensuing free position opportunity, Weber took a strong step to the goal and fired a shot. As the shot moved past the Griffin's goalkeeper, the Rock Bowl erupted and Weber was swarmed by her teammates.
A few weeks later, Weber cashed in for another one, this time on the road in front of her family. After a Loras shot was saved, Kutsch and Weber double-teamed the Aurora goalkeeper forcing a turnover and putting herself out of position. With Kutsch boxing out the goalkeeper, Weber tracked down the ball and cashed in for her second goal of the season.
"Scoring a goal was one of my personal goals for the season so, scoring at home and then in front of family meant a lot," Weber said. "This wasn't easy. Each day I could think of 100 reasons to quit but in the end, I could always think of 101 reasons to stay."
With the 2014 season over, the Duhawks will have to wait until next year to suit up again. One thing is for sure though, after seeing the power of determination, Weber and her teammates will return better than ever in 2015, looking to make a name for the emerging program.
View additional Loras Link