The first thing that ran through Rachael Katsur's mind when she awoke from the anesthetic and saw her left knee didn't have a scar was, "Oh my gosh, they did the wrong leg."
That wasn't the case. Doctors didn't work on either of her knees even though they had planned to fix damaged ligaments in her left one.
It's just part of Katsur's bizarre story. One that has a happy ending.
She is a senior this year at Bethany College in West Virginia and a Woodland Hills High School graduate who lives in Wilkins Township. In the spring of 2008 she collapsed on the college's track while doing a workout. In the process, her anterior cruciate ligament was torn and there was damage done to her posterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments.
In short, her knee was messed up ... big time.
"It was just a fluke thing. I was running and just fell," Katsur said. "I knew it was bad because my foot was pointing the wrong way."
A knee injury is never a good thing and it was devastating to Katsur, a midfielder/forward on the soccer team and a sprinter on the track team at Bethany. The previous spring she had set the school record in the 100-meter dash and in the fall of 2007 she had started all 17 soccer games, scoring three goals.
Doctors decided to put off surgery and Katsur started going to physical therapy at UPMC's South Side facility. She was on crutches and in a brace most of the summer and couldn't drive.
Slowly, painfully her knee improved. She would limp around the house without the crutches or hop around on one leg. She had been told she might not be able to compete in collegiate athletics again, which only made her work harder. She built up the muscles around the knee to compensate for the damage.
That's why no surgery was performed on the knee. "They said it was too stable for the surgery so I stayed with the physical therapy." And the joint kept getting better.
She didn't play soccer last fall but as a sports communications major she did an on-campus internship in which she helped with the soccer media guide and stayed close to the team.
"It was difficult mentally not being able to play," Katsur said. "That was the toughest part of it. I'm not a patient person but I learned to be patient."
This past spring Katsur was able to run track, competing in four meets for Bethany and was a member of the 400-meter relay that set a school record. She is back on the soccer field -- she played in an adult league this summer to get ready for her college season -- but things are a little different.
She wears a brace on her knee, although she is trying to wean herself off it. And after games or hard practices she has two or three ice bags strapped to her knee.
Now, about that happy ending.
In Bethany's first game this fall Katsur had a goal and an assist in a 2-0 victory against Pitt-Greensburg and after three games she has scored two goals.
Sarah Romasco continued to add to her IUP career records for goals, assists and points Tuesday when the Crimson Hawks defeated Lock Haven, 7-0. A senior and Ambridge High graduate, she had two goals and two assists in the victory.
Romasco broke the IUP records for goals and points Saturday in a victory against Gannon. She now has 62 goals, 34 assists and 158 points going into Saturday's home game against Edinboro.
Only two area teams are ranked this week. Washington & Jefferson (1-0) is No. 10 in the D3Football.com rankings, while IUP (2-0) is No. 15 by D2Football.com.