Littlestown's Langrill makes emotional return to track after ACL tear
This story originally ran in May 2015.
As Kristin Langrill lay on the ground after a collision with a goalie during an indoor soccer game 11 weeks ago, two thoughts crossed through her mind.
The first: "Will I be able to get back up?"
She tried to stand but quickly fell back down, prompting the second thought.
"Oh my gosh, am I gonna be able to do track?"
Up until Thursday — Langrill's 16th birthday — the answer was no.
In a "devastating" turn of events, Langrill, a Littlestown sophomore who hopes to compete in track in college, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee on that late-January day. The nature of the injury, which requires reconstructive knee surgery and a recovery period of six to nine months, meant she would miss her entire track season.
But that prognosis didn't sit well with Langrill, nor did her coaches' proposal that she would act as a coach for the season. She wanted to compete in a meet this year, and she got that wish when doctors and coaches allowed her to jog the 100 dash — one of her favorite events — in the Bolts' final meet of the season.
Teammates encouraged her with shouts of, "C'mon Kristin," and Langrill wiped away tears as she crossed the finish line and hugged her teammates.
"Ever since she tore her ACL, she's been talking about trying to do whatever she can to come back before the end of the season because she really loves track and it's one of her passions," her brother, senior Kyle Langrill, said. "It was really exciting to see the comeback from what happened."
To get to that point took an intense rehabilitation that started with doing leg exercises to build strength even before her Feb. 13 surgery. Langrill built enough strength to walk before the operation, and she spent just two weeks after surgery supported by crutches. She started doing physical therapy three times a week and came to practices, where she spent most of her time in the weight room, on other days. With the help of her father, Eric, who is a physical therapist, she built up enough strength to begin jogging two weeks ago.
"She's always working to get back, she's always stretching at the house on her own time," Kyle Longrill said. "The first day she was allowed to come back and start running, she was."
That's when she started nagging her coaches to let her jog in Thursday's meet.
"We had mixed feelings," Bolts coach Scott Motter said. "We told her she could do it as long as she jogged."
Langrill continues to do physical therapy twice a week, and she said she has to make a decision about whether to play soccer in the fall. Many more weeks of rehabbing stand between her and being cleared for full activity, but she's accomplished the goal she set for the spring: getting back on the track "no matter what."
"I don't even know how to describe it," she said of Thursday's race. "It just means so much more when you can't do it and you come back to it."