The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


Student plays soccer despite injury

Photo courtesy of Chatham Athletics

Like many college students, Megan Cooper studies hard, likes to sleep and listens to music in her spare time. There is a calm intensity about her and it is reflected in her love of soccer. You would never know that she is battling an ankle injury unless she told you.

A first year political science major from Erie, Pennsylvania, Cooper adores her time so far at Chatham. “I’m an independent person, and living at home was not really my style. Chatham is independent but small enough to reach out to people if you need something,” she said.

Cooper joined Chatham’s soccer team at the beginning of the semester. She started playing soccer at age five when her dad decided to coach her and her sister. Cooper loves the intensity of the game. “With soccer, you’re always moving, always thinking. There are no breaks.”

Cooper made friends at Chatham, mostly through playing soccer. “I’ve never been on a team that’s so close,” she said. “I think it’s a combination of everyone’s personality fitting together. We are like an eccentric family, and we’ve only been playing together for a few months.”

Despite Chatham’s low record this season, Cooper’s soccer coach Betsy Warren said the overall competitive performance of the team has greatly improved. “The win-loss record doesn’t reflect the team’s performance,” she said. “Looking at the number of goals we’re scoring now, it’s a big improvement since last season. We’re definitely turning things around.”

Warren acknowledged that the team plays in a very competitive program but the most important aspect to Warren is that “this team fights to the very end. No matter the score, the team presses on and keeps playing,” she said. “In the last game we scored during the last two minutes.” She added that the team has taken a number of opposing teams into overtime during several close games this season.

Cooper considers herself a pretty aggressive player but often ends up on the ground because of her petite size. She said she works hard to stay with the ball despite other more physically imposing players who try to use her size to their advantage.

Cooper plays soccer despite a muscle called peroneus tendon that rubs on top of her anklebone. She said the injury itself doesn’t have a name. “I have always had this tendon problem. I guess I was born with it; it was just agitated this year more than it ever has been,” she said. “The only way to fix it is to tack the tendon back in place away from the bone.”

Cooper went to the doctor for an MRI and found out she needed surgery to fix the problem. The doctor offered to do surgery right away, but Cooper decided to wait until after the end of the semester so she wouldn’t have to miss class.

“I decided on that option because the pain won’t get any worse, and the tape helps,” Cooper said. “I’m working through it.” She said it helps that her coach knows she’s hurting.

The Doctor gave Cooper special tape to hold the muscle in place so that it doesn’t rub as much while she plays. “It still hurts,” she admitted. “The tape only helps to a certain extent. I still play in pain.”

On a scale of one to 10 (with 10 being the worst), Cooper’s pain level is about a seven when she plays.

Cooper said she is not a quitter and tries to work through the pain. “I have never been one to sit out because I’m in pain,” she said. She feels like it can’t really get worse, and even if it did, she would still prefer to keep playing. Cooper said she continued playing soccer when she broke her arm the first week of high school even though her arm was in a full cast past her elbow. “I wasn’t allowed to play contact, only possession games and shooting drills,” she said.

Coach Warren admires Cooper’s tenacity and said that with a nagging injury like Cooper’s, most people would not keep going the way she does. “[Cooper] plays through the pain, she deals with it and doesn’t complain. She works as hard as she can,” Warren said.

Cooper praised Warren as a coach. She said Warren described herself to the team as, “‘I might be crazy but I’m always honest.’ That really encompasses who she is,” Cooper said. “She’s crazy and maybe a little wild but she knows what she’s talking about.”

Cooper appreciates that Coach Warren doesn’t just give orders but shows the team exactly what she wants them to do, whether it’s to stand a certain way, where to go, when to step or when to wait. Cooper referred to this art as “reading the game.”

“[Coach Warren’s] office is always open. People from the team go to see her all the time,” Cooper said. “She’s part of the reason we’re so close. She’s always laughing at practice. She laughs with us and makes jokes. She helps us bond as a team.”

Cooper said there will a long recovery time after the surgery, but she thinks she will be ready to start playing again next fall.

“My friends are supportive, and my parents don’t really question my decisions,” Cooper said. “They help me through them, but they don’t tell me I’m wrong.”

Cooper said the most important part of her life is to “focus on friends and family and [continue] building these relationships. I don’t think I’d be here without my friends and family.”


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