With knee injury wiping out soccer and track season, Enslen finds new sport in rowing
By Mike Kilroy
Eagle Staff Writer
BUTLER TWP Senior Odile Enslen went up to head the ball during a Butler girls soccer game early in the season.
When she came down, she heard a pop in her left knee.
I rolled on the ground freaking out, Enslen said. When I tried to walk to the trainer's table, it kept giving out on me. So, yeah, I knew it was bad, even though it didn't hurt.
Her worst fears were realized: a tear to the ACL and meniscus.
Suddenly, her high school soccer and track and field careers were over.
I dealt with it the best way I could, Enslen said. I went to all the games with a smile on my face and cheered like a soccer mom.
All the while, not being able to play killed her inside.
So did the notion that not only was her high school athletic career over, so too would be her collegiate career before it started.
Then she took a trip to Mercyhurst University on a school visit and discovered a new opportunity in a sport in which she never gave even a first thought.
The women's rowing team at Mercyhurst is always on the lookout for new talent.
Enslen fit the bill.
It was like, 'Oh my gosh, a coach is interested in me despite being injured,' Enslen said.
Enslen, though, didn't know the first thing about rowing.
She hit the internet trying to absorb any information she could about the sport. She also asked the advice of her cousin, who was a rower at Duquesne University.
The first thing Enslen realized she needed to do was get healthy again after her Oct. 5 surgery to repair her knee.
I lost a lot of strength and muscle, Enslen said. It was hard because I just wasn't motivated.
Now, Enslen is.
She also believes rowing will help strengthen her knees so she won't suffer a similar injury again.
She admitted it's going to be difficult.
I put the same expectation in all the new sports I do, Enslen said. I expect to do my best and get better each time I row. And I just want to have fun and enjoy it.
That starts, though, with her arduous rehab, which is going on now.
One of the seniors who graduated last year (Haley Michel) tore her ACL and I talked to her about it, Enslen said. I said, 'Listen, I'm going through a rough time. What should I do?' She said, 'Physical therapy, physical therapy, physical therapy. It's going to be hard, but don't let it hit you as hard as you think it is.'
Rowing has given Enslen motivation to get back to where she was before the injury.
It also helps that she has some time to adapt to her post-rehab knee and her new sport.
Enslen will begin her career training in the sport in the fall and winter before the season of competition begins next spring.
She's also looking forward to the team aspect of rowing.
That was one of the things Enslen enjoyed the most about soccer the camaraderie of the sport .
Enslen was also a standout sprinter and hurdler for the Golden Tornado track team.
Enslen plans on studying forensic science at Mercyhurst University.
She was all set on attending Chatham University in Pittsburgh before she found a forensics program at Mercyhurst.
Then rowing found her.
I wanted to go to Chatham because I thought there would be more to do in Pittsburgh, Enslen said. Then my mom told me about the program at Mercyhurst. ... It all worked out.