|Hannah Talon with Physical Therapist,|
Junior Hannah Talon is not a typical 16-year-old. Talon was the varsity girls’ basketball team’s lead scorer and top defender in the fall of 2018 and recently experienced a setback. During a game against Massabesic on New Year’s Eve 2018, she was going in for a layup, went up toward the basket and felt a pop in her knee. The next thing she knew she was on the ground. What initially might have been a couple pulled hamstrings, turned out to be a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
Over the last five months, Talon, along with physical therapist Ryan Brown of OrthoAssociates Center for Orthopedics and sports psychologist Dr. Jan Veinot, have been working very hard to come back even stronger than before.
“I was very panicked, and I remember Coach Brody Artes and athletic trainer Casey Sinclair trying to tell me to relax,” she stated, recalling the moments after the injury.
Brown saw Talon one day after her operation. “At first it’s getting the quadricep muscles going. The hamstrings are important because it’s the secondary stabilizer to the ACL. Strong hamstrings help that tibia bone from going forward, so that’s going to help stabilize,” explained Brown.
It was only a couple days before she had a basketball back in her hand; when she’d do single leg wall sits, she’d take the basketball and go in between her legs doing 150-200 dribbles. If she was doing a squat, she and Ryan would pass the ball between each other. She kept up with her ball handling and her passing at physical therapy. Talon has been doing single leg squats, hamstring curls on the medicine ball and a lot of therapy band work. She also did a lot to strengthen her upper body; like pushups, sit ups and planks.
“I’ve gotten stronger; upper body strength and with my legs. Part of physical therapy is getting my knee stronger, but also having my legs equally as strong.”
Brown remembered she was barely able to do a push up and now she does cycles of them. Her legs are stronger and mentally she’s stronger.
Another aspect of her recovery, just as important as physical therapy is working with a sports psychologist, Dr. Jan Veinot, who has been instrumental in her recovery. “I was really upset about it,” Talon added, in response to the injury. “Watching and not being able to play was hard. I was not able to play but had to still keep watching basketball.” Dr. Veinot helped her through the grieving process, set new goals and prepared her for returning to play.
Talon was surprised at how many former and current athletes who have been in this situation reached out for support. Coaches from all over the state also offered their support, too.
“[It’s] because of the person she is on and off the court; coaches and players recognize that and respect her for it.” said mom Allison Talon.
“I am not surprised at how hard she has been working,” observed Allison. It is who she is. She has taken an experience no athlete wants to endure and turned it into a positive life experience. She has proven herself as a leader and example of what every student-athlete should emulate. I am inspired by her determination to recover...and leap way outside of her comfort zone.”
It’s nine months from the surgery date until she can be back on the court.
“That’s the hardest thing for Hannah is to get the basketball in her hands as soon as possible,” said Brown. “She was down – she’s a top recruit and I’ve seen, even mentally for her, now that she’s dribbling; she’s a happy kid again, which is good. She puts a goal in her head and works towards it.”
“It feels good, because I’m doing stuff that I wasn’t able to do before my injury. I think I’m a lot stronger now and it’s going to help me a lot in the future. I’m going to be better for it.”
“It’s been rewarding in ways, I’ve learned a lot about myself, outside of basketball. In ways I’ve enjoyed this experience, but I wouldn’t want to do it again,” Hannah stated with a smile.