By Jeremy McDonald
TURNER, Ore.– 2020 hasn’t been kind to Cascade Zoey Bird.
On June 18, while playing with her scooter, Bird had a dislocated rib-fib break in her right ankle. Within the next 12 days Bird had to go to the ER and eventually had surgery to fix the ankle joint with a seven-inch plate, a band that goes all the way through her ankle and about 11 screws to stabilize and heal the ligaments and bones associated with her ankle.
For the junior goalkeeper, she was in high spirits about it. Joking even about having it happen to her after the fact.
“It upset me, but I didn’t mind it. I always wanted to break a bone because I’ve never done it before,” joked Bird. “I was like, ‘oh cool, my first time and it was a good one too’. I was sad I wasn’t able to play soccer for a while, I was late for the first couple practices, but I didn’t expect to be playing right now to be completely honest.
“Like I did think I was going to be able to play the next couple of years. But I am and I’m excited for it… if I wasn’t playing soccer right now I’ll be at home doing nothing and that’s not my kind of thing. I like being out and being active, especially with friends.”
It was a long road nonetheless for Bird. The healing process, PT and getting back to the soccer pitch as quickly as possible.
It was a mentally taxing process as well with the physical pain. There was a moment where Bird broke down after going to a summer workout where she wanted to help and show how to do it, but she wasn’t able to go out and do it physically.
“It was very hard because I wanted to get up and walk over to help them. Even though I couldn’t practice, I wanted to help them get better and help them learn more things. There’s a lot of things I know I can help them with, but I couldn’t walk over there and do it,” Bird said. “I had to be on crutches or I had a boot on, it was really hard to get around.
“I couldn’t get the boot wet without it being washed all the time. So I just kind of refrained from any of that stuff.”
Nearly four months after the procedure and the break, Bird was cleared to return November 2. It was the next-to-last-week of the Fall Session of the season.
As weird as it was to return perhaps, playing on it wasn’t as bad as Bird imagined the past few training sessions at Cascade High School.
“It’s not as bad as I thought it would be. It’s a little weird, making the motions of it, but I can still do it. There’s certain things in warm-ups I can’t do, there’s only one thing I can’t do,” she said.
With their scrimmage against Stayton coming up to wrap up the Fall Sports portion of Season 1, there is a sense of nervous excitement for Bird about lining up in net in a live-game environment five months after surgery.
“I just warm-up with my team and make sure everyone else is doing good. Focus more on other people as well, like I’m able to talk to them and explain to them certain things they need to do so other kids can understand better,” said Bird.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald