UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- It has been the longest offseason Amanda Heyde has ever experienced during her field hockey career.
The Hofstra University senior and former Somers High School star is working her way back into form after April back surgery sidelined her for four months. The nine-month process has Heyde anxiously awaiting the beginning of the season.
I feel good, said Heyde, who has started 42 of 59 games, including 35 the last two years. I am excited about this season because its my last season and because Ive been cooped up.
Heyde felt some pain at the end of the 2010 season, but played through it. The pain shot down her back and into her leg and foot, leaving her foot numb. Heyde knew that was not good so she had two epidurals and later tried physical therapy and strengthening exercises, before she went for an MRI.
They found I had a herniated disc and it was also torn, Heyde said. After the surgery, I was on complete bed rest for three weeks.
Once Heyde was allowed out of bed, she had to relearn much of what comes naturally to a fine athlete like herself.
I remember the first time they made me sit up, it took 20 minutes, said Heyde, with a laugh. They had to teach me how to walk, had to get out of bed and how to roll over in bed. I remember the first time I was able to tie my shoes again.
This was a huge change for the always active, dynamic goalie who graduated as Somers leader in career shutouts. Heyde also played on three consecutive gold-medal-winning Hudson Valley scholastic womens field hockey teams at the Empire State Games.
Heyde, a Physical Education major, progressively regained her strength and began physical therapy, spending the summer at school. She was disappointed she had to miss the spring season so Heyde was determined to return to her starting position this fall. In fact, Heyde said she began running last month.
I had never been hurt before so I had to sit out the whole spring, but I still went to practice, Heyde said. This taught me a lot about mental toughness, being a good team player and helping players through an injury like my friend and teammate Amy-Lee did for me.
Heyde received clearance and once that occurred, the goalie equipment could not be on soon enough. Heyde has added motivation, as do her teammates, to open the season.
In the Colonial Athletic Association preseason poll, the conference coaches picked Hofstra to finish eighth.
They always pick us the bottom of the poll, but we are using that to fire us up, Heyde said. We printed out some of them and put them up in our locker room. People are not expecting us to do anything, but we have an awesome group of girls and we plan on shocking everybody.
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