Tuesday, May 12, 2009

NEVER QUIT Encouragement

It would have been so easy for Erica to quit. After all she had been through alot, but Kent Schmeltz did not raise a quitter!

Although her beloved father died suddenly midway through her sophomore year of high school from a massive heart attack, she can still hear his words, "never give up, do your best, stay positive and never leave anything with regrets."

Starting the first game of the soccer season as a freshman defender, Erica suffered torn ligaments in her left knee. After surgery and rehab got her ready for the second half of the basketball season, she tore her ACL at a New Year's Eve practice.

"The second rehab was easier than the first because I knew what to expect," Erica said. "I was able to push myself harder."

And she never gave up. However, between her junior year soccer and basketball, she injured her knee a third time while at travel soccer tryouts. Then she started wondering if her playing days were done.

"Everyone had advice for me, but I wanted to make my own decision. In my heart, I knew I loved to compete, so it wasn't hard to decide to keep going."

Of course, she struggled with fear and pain, but her senior year has gone as planned. She knew she could not live with herself if she gave up.

Her attitude did not go unnoticed. She won the Thomas A. Brady Comeback Award for the state of Indiana, sponsored by the Methodist Sports Medicine Research and Education Foundation in Indianapolis.

"Her character and faith had so much to do with her coming all the way back," said her high school athletic trainer who nominated her for the award. It has not been an easy road, but Erica was raised on the farm and knows the meaning of hard work and perseverence.

She's the ultimate comeback kid.

If Erica can do it, so can you.

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