Positivity and Perseverance

Anthem Prep junior Callyn Crandall bounces back after surgery

By Emma Suttell

In January, Anthem Prep junior Callyn Crandall began what she now describes as several of the most difficult and self-defining months of her life. While playing on the school soccer team, Crandall tore her ACL, MCL and meniscus in her right knee. Her injuries required surgery, and by the end of January, Crandall was off of the field and in recovery.

“Watching from the sidelines as my soccer and basketball games competed for state championships was such an unfamiliar role reversal,” says Crandall, who is an active member in Anthem’s sports community. With her newfound injury, Crandall was forced off of the field for 12 months.

Confined to crutches for the first two months, the absence of the game shifted Crandall’s world, putting her soccer commitment into perspective. Over a decade of Crandall’s life has been spent on the field; she had first began playing at age 4, and earned a spot on a club team at age 7.

Crandall missed the team camaraderie and the rush she felt during games, but her teammates and family members were at her side to make sure that she didn’t miss a moment.

“The love I felt through all of it from my family, friends, and church family carried me through,” Crandall says. “Playing with and cheering on friends that I’ve gone to school with since first grade is a really unique thing about Anthem.”

Even with the support of family and friends, making the transition from being one of Anthem Prep’s star players to being on the sideline has been difficult. Crandall says that the transition has made her question her own identity as a player and a person. After all, Crandall had focused on her athletics for years; she had never anticipated this severe of an injury.

In April, Crandall was starting to recover when she faced another devastating setback. She began to experience migraines, dizziness, and other neurological symptoms before being diagnosed with a case of viral meningitis.

With the help of physical therapy and several other methods of recovery, Crandall managed to push through yet another difficult condition, all while learning about herself in the process.

“Physical therapy is so challenging but so rewarding,” Crandall says. “It’s been inspiring to see how strong I’m building up to be after hitting such a low after surgery.”

Crandall has about three more months of physical therapy before she is able to get back on the soccer field, but her progress so far has been incredible. She is looking forward to joining her teammates again after her recovery is complete, but in the meantime, Crandall is investing in her community outside of her team.

An avid volunteer at Christ’s Church of the Valley, Crandall spends her spare time on Saturday nights helping a group of seventh-grade girls navigate middle school and their faith life. Besides offering her advice to the girls, Crandall says each girl loves and supports her, which helps her on her own journey through high school and recovery.

“I am so thankful I can give back to these girls in this special way. My advice to anyone experiencing anything difficult or potentially life-changing would be to find at least one thing each day that you’re thankful for,” Crandall says.

“I started doing this right after I hurt my knee and it truly helped me to shift my perspective toward hope and focus on the blessings I had all around me.”

Crandall says she often sees students who find it easy to get caught up in their schedules and forget to give focus on the things that make them happy. By going through her own struggles, Crandall is able to put other areas of her life into perspective. Her positivity shines through as an example to her teammates and everyone in the Anthem sports community.

“Knowing that everything happens for a reason also really helps me find peace no matter what the circumstances are,” Crandall says. “Looking at the glass as half-full has become second nature and this perspective truly makes every relationship and experience in my life better.”   

– Emma Suttell is a senior at Boulder Creek.

You can find more of her work at andthenemma.com.

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