The Death of a Dream


Photo by Pat McDonald

Nicole Osbourne sits off to the side while her teammates finish their pre-game ritual at centercourt before a game against Alta on December 20, 2012.

Heidee Talbot, Staff Writer

After four knee surgeries, extreme pain, and intensive physical therapy, many athletes would be devastated.  In the span of two years, Nicole Osbourne, a junior at Bingham, has had her knees operated on four times, twice on each knee. Following each surgery, Nicole endured months of physical therapy to return to what she loved– playing basketball. Despite her many injuries, Nicole maintains a good attitude and continues to push through her injuries.

Nicole has been playing basketball since she was in fourth grade. The friendships of united team, the feeling of winning, and being part of something with a goal in mind drew Nicole to the sport.

“I love just sticking together as at team through anything. Just being there for each other no matter what happens,” Nicole said. “When I had my surgery, my team was always there helping me and getting me through it emotionally.”

In 2010, Nicole was trying out for the Bingham girls’ basketball team. During an open gym, just three days before tryouts, Nicole tore the ACL and damaged the meniscus in her left knee. As a result, in November 2010, Nicole had her first surgery. During the lengthy surgery, half of her hamstring was removed and twisted together with a cadaver to form her new ACL. She also had her meniscus sewn up.

“It hurt a lot, but you just deal with it,” she said.

Nicole began what would be 2 years of continuous physical therapy. She attended physical therapy three days a week, eventually moving to two days a week, and then one.

Nicole said, “I’ll graduate from therapy and hurt myself a month later so it was mostly continuous.”

Just over a year later, in December 2011, Nicole’s meniscus tore again because the stitching from the first surgery was unsuccessful. She underwent surgery on her left knee again to replace forty percent of her meniscus. Receiving more physical therapy, Nicole worked through this second injury. She again returned to basketball.

“I just loved being a part of something and having a goal in mind. My team and my desire drove me. It’s just what I wanted. I’ve always had this dream,” she said.

After completing physical therapy on her left knee, Nicole was at tryouts for the Bingham team. This time she injured her right knee, which forced her to  get a third surgery. During this surgery, Nicole’s right knee cap was released and her ligaments were cut.  She again began physical therapy, but in December of 2012, Nicole again underwent surgery to put in new ligaments for her right knee.

Since the fourth surgery, Nicole can no longer play basketball. Nicole has had to let go of the dreams of playing all through high school, playing in college, and receiving scholarships.

“I cried every night. It was so hard to go tell my coach,” she said. “It’s what my life has been. Now it’s not there. It was hard to make the decision.”

While she does miss the emotional high of a competitive basketball game, Nicole maintains a good attitude. “It’s sad and everything, but I don’t have cancer or anything. There are worse things. I’m still part of the team, I don’t have a jersey but I go to all the practices.”

Nicole welcomes what the future will bring her.      “I said goodbye to that dream, but I know through trials other doors will open. Maybe this needed to happen so other things in my life can happen. I can open new doors and new things now,” she said.

Nicole has seen new doors open in her life as she changed her opinion on the medical profession. Prior to all her surgeries, Nicole didn’t like medical things. As she went through her own experiences, she became interested in becoming a physical therapist. Not being able to play basketball next year will allow her to pursue physical therapy in the JATC next year.

Nicole has learned a lot through her experiences the last few years while dealing with this injury.

“Be grateful for everything that you have because one minute it can be taken away from you,” she said. “Don’t take things for granted; you never know when it will be gone. Play like it’s your last game.”