Last season did not turn out like Bailey Webster had expected.
During preseason practice last year, Webster tore her ACL and had surgery on her right knee in August 2010. Although she was ranked as the No. 1 recruit going into her freshman year, she received a medical redshirt for her sophomore season.
After a tough year of rehab, she is back and ready to help the Longhorns.
“It started with baby steps at first, just little things, just moving my leg again,” Webster said. “Basically, I had to relearn how to walk all over again.”
She said gaining back muscle was extremely difficult. She worked on that aspect of her recovery for months and said it was a process that didn’t end before preseason, yet she still does rehab when she can.
But, her teammates remained by her side during the entire process and supported her constantly.
“Every time they would come over to get water, they would cheer me on in whatever exercise I was doing,” Webster said. “Some of my teammates would come over to my house and just hang out with me to make sure I was still included in team activities.”
While injured, she continued strengthening her upper body. Her teammates, along with coaches and trainers, helped her during the entire process and motivated her.
“Everybody helped and stayed positive,” Webster said. “With injuries like that, you can get down very easily. It was an all-around effort, and everyone helped.”
Now, she wears a brace and does exercises before practices to warm up her knee. She said by hesitating and being cautious, you are more likely to injure yourself.
“I just go out and play like everybody else,” Webster said. “I just have to go and play and risk it, and whatever happens, happens.”
Head coach Jerritt Elliott said Webster, who is a team captain, is as strong as ever and brings a lot of confidence to the team.
“She’s probably going to be the best right side blocker in the country,” Elliott said. “She’s extremely physical, and she’s learning how to attack as well on the right side. She can somewhat control outside hitters on the opposing team, and it’s nice to see.”
Junior utility player Sha’Dare McNeal is impressed with Webster’s resilience throughout her rehabilitation process.
“It’s amazing to see how she’s held that same emotional stature that she had before the surgery and after the surgery,” McNeal said. “It’s awesome to see her back on the court and back where she started.”
Although not playing last season was difficult for Webster and the team, she has learned a lot from watching and believes she has improved as a player and person.
“It was really hard watching from the sidelines,” Webster said. “But it was good for me to see the game from another perspective. I was able to be more of a leader and cheer on my teammates.”
Now, Webster is thankful to be back on the court and support her teammates, who supported her.
“At times, it could be a little scary, [but now] I don’t even think about my knee,” Webster said. “It’s just so great to be back with everybody and being treated like everyone else.”
Printed on September 8, 2011 as: Webster healthy, ready to contribute