April 6, 2018
Heflin: A Player Through Injury
Heflin Heflin is a sophomore lacrosse player at Piedmont College. She started playing lacrosse at Piedmont her freshman year. However, Heflin has been dedicated to the sport since her 9th grade year in high school. She started playing after her elementary school PE teacher reached out to her and asked her to play high school lacrosse.
Heflin has suffered from injuries in lacrosse, but has never given up on the sport. Heflin’s injuries date back to sophomore year in high school where she suffered from lower back pain. Then in her freshman year of college, she made a strange pivot while playing, which resulted in her SI joint being injured. During freshman year, in an effort to help her SI joint, she got a shot which was supposed to act like a cortisone shot. She then had to forgo a week of playing. Unfortunately, the shot didn’t work, so this year she got another shot which was supposed to go into her SI joint, but the doctor missed. Heflin had to take some time off of lacrosse after that. For a while Heflin was playing really well, but unfortunately she got hit a few games ago and fell on her bad side. She had to sit out a couple of games after that. Heflin is currently playing but says she’s not 100%. She hopes that by getting rest this summer and doing treatments, she’ll be back to normal playing skill and feeling better.
With lacrosse, there have come some challenges. “We have as much skill but we don’t have as much experience, and for the collegiate level game that’s important because you need to know what’s going on, and how things are going to go, and what things and what people to look out for.”
Playing through her injury was also challenging. Heflin says she felt like it was hard to “be there for my team because if you’re not 100%, you don’t always feel like practicing so then you bring people down.”
Heflin says that she’s learned from her injuries in lacrosse that “patience is really important. Being an athlete I’m not used to sitting out for games or practices, so when I did do that it was really difficult. Taking that time is really important and I learned if you don’t take that time there’s no way you’re going to get better.”
Heflin still plays lacrosse despite being injured because, “It’s fun and we don’t have a lot of girls, but even if we did I probably still wouldn’t want to give up on the team. The best thing about playing lacrosse, especially in college is the family feel. All these girls on the team are really close because we spend so much time together.”
Heflin has definitely made a positive impact on her team. Teammate and sophomore, Erin Alyward said, “Heflin is a positive influence on the team. She brings the spark to the team. She keeps everyone’s head up. No matter how far behind we are in points or no matter how tired you feel she’ll push you and cheer anyone and everyone on. Heflin is a well-rounded player and is an extremely important player on our team. Her injury doesn’t affect her playing nor does it impair her positivity on the field. She carries us on her back through every game.”
Mattie Keaton, another lacrosse player on the team said, “Heflin has brought so much positivity to our team. Even when she is unable to practice she cheers us on and will lift us up if we are slowing down. Our athletic trainer will limit her to things she can do for some practice and despite that she will still give 100 percent. She never complains and she always stays positive no matter what the score is. She has been a big asset to our team and I am very thankful to call her my teammate.”
Heflin compares her team to a “Security blanket.” Heflin’s coaches have also made a positive impact on her by being “good mentors” for her.
Heflin’s hard work has definitely payed off. In her freshman year, her and her team won against Methodist College in the semi-final game. Piedmont College and Methodist College were tied during the game, but Piedmont pulled ahead and won. Heflin really enjoyed that game because during regular season they lost against Methodist College.
Heflin has also had several recognitions her freshman year as a Piedmont College lacrosse player such as having second team-all conference and being part of tournament team. Tournament team recognizes players throughout the year. She also was Rookie of the week.
Playing lacrosse has not only benefitted Heflin, but Heflin’s perseverance and strength has made the team grow as a whole.