William Byrd senior recovers after ACL surgery, scores 1,000th point

Published: Mar. 16, 2022 at 6:51 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - On the court, every second leading to a shot counts. From playing time in a game to playing time in a season, time in sports is measured in many different ways.

Emilie McCaskill measures her basketball career in years. 13 years total, her last four have been on the varsity women’s basketball team at William Byrd.

“It was definitely a journey to get there,” said McCaskill.

The tail end of her journey was measured by something she thought she avoided.

“I went through my whole freshman, sophomore and junior year, and ‘oh I’m healthy, this is going great’ and once I tore my ACL, I was like, dang, this really just happened to me, kind of just a shock at first,” recalls McCaskill.

“It’s a hard injury, not just the surgery to go through, but the post operative rehab, and it’s tougher on an athlete because an athlete wants to get back on the field,” said Dr. Michael O’Malley, an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine for Carilion Clinic.

McCaskill wanted to get back on the court, and even with a torn ACL, she had two goals: play her senior season and score her thousandth point.

“So this is Emilie’s knee MRI, this is her femur or her thigh bone and this is her tibia or her shin bone, this is her knee cap, what we call patella, and what we’re looking at in this particular image is her ACL,” described O’Malley while looking at an image on his computer screen.

According to O’Malley, the typical recovery time for a repair like Emilie’s is 9 months.

That was too much time.

“She is a very driven young lady. And she had a goal set in mind and said, look, basketball is very important to me. I want to get back at this date and I said, ‘OK, but that’s quick, only 6 months from her surgery, sometimes that’s attainable, sometimes it’s not and she just looked at me and said “I’ll do it.”

“Emilie is a tough player; she overcame a lot with her knee injury and she worked hard and tough in the off season just to get a chance to play,” said Randy Bush, Emilie’s coach.

Play she did, goal one complete. But she didn’t just play; she scored. It was her last game of the regular season that she made the thousand point club. Goal two: complete.

“I’m just glad I got the opportunity, and I’m glad I ended it on a great note and I’m proud of all that I accomplished,” said McCaskill.

Time well spent both on and off the court.

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