Stanford soccer star Andi Sullivan bounces back from injury that almost ended her career


ONE KEY TO A POTENTIAL NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RUN WILL BE THE CONTINUED HEALTH OF THEIR STAR SENIOR ANDY SULLIVAN. LAST OCTOBER SHE WAS AT THE TOP OF HER GAME DURING HER FIRST STRETCH WITH THE SENIOR NATIONAL TEAM. SHE WAS BACK AT STANFORD PLAYING IN THE SECOND ROUND OF THE NCAA TOURNAMENT. AS SHE TELLS US, IT WAS IN THAT GAME THAT A FLUKE PLAY PUT HER ENTIRE CAREER ON PAUSE. >>GOOD SPEED. GOOD. >>WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT SOCCER? >>WOW. I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT SOCCER. >>Reporter: HERE COMES ANDY SULLIVAN! YOU BET. PAC-12 PLAYER OF THE YEAR. TWO-TIME FIRST TEAM ALL- AMERICAN. >>KNEW IT RIGHT AWAY. OFF HER FOOT. ARMS IN THE AIR. >>Reporter: SINCE THE AGE OF 3, SHE HAS BEEN DRIVEN TO BE THE BEST SOCCER PLAYER ON THE FIELD. >>THAT WAS ALWAYS THE QUESTION, IS WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP? I SAID I WANT TO BE A PROFESSIONAL SOCCER PLAYER. THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO DO. >>Reporter: BY HER JUNIOR YEAR IN 2016, SHE WAS ENJOYING HER BEST SEASON YET. >>SULLIVAN. >>MONEY. >>SHE WAS DOING EVERYTHING FOR US ON THE FIELD. WINNING THE BALL. SCORING CRITICAL GOALS. >>SHE WAS HAVING THE SEASON THAT EVERYONE HOPES TO HAVE. >>I FELT SUPER FIT AND STRONG AND THEN OUT OF THE BLUE WE GET A CALL WERE THE NATIONAL TEAM SAYING THEY WANT ME TO COME. >>Reporter: SHE APPEARED IN FOUR GAMES FOR THE U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM BEFORE RETURNING TO STANFORD FOR A DEEP RUN IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT. >>WE ARE IN THE SECOND ROUND GAME, DOUBLE OVERTIME, AND I’M FEELING DESPERATE BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, I WANT TO WIN THE GAME. >>DIVING SAVE TO KEEP IT OUT OF THE CAGE. >>I REMEMBER THE BALL WAS TRAVELING TO THEIR OUTSIDE BACK AND I GET THERE AND MY FOOT GOT CAUGHT IN THE GROUND. I HEARD IT POP AND I FELT IT. I KNEW LIKE RIGHT AWAY, NO, I’M DONE. >>FOR HER TO COME OFF THE FIELD IN A GAME OF THAT MAGNITUDE, WE KNEW IT WAS A SERIOUS INJURY. >>THEY CARRIED ME INTO THE ATHLETIC TRAINING ROOM AND THAT’S RIGHT SNEER THE SANTA CLARA BENCH. MY ATHLETIC TOLD ME, YEAH, YOU TORE YOUR ACL. AND ALMOST IMMEDIATELY AFTER I HEAR SANTA CLARA CHEERING AND I WAS LIKE, NO. THAT CAN’T GET MUCH WORSE, YOU KNOW? YEAH. IT WAS A ROUGH ONE. >>Reporter: BOTH STANFORD AND ANDY’S SEASONS WERE OVER. NOW THE FATE OF HER CAREER WAS IN JEOPARDY. >>I THINK ACL INJURY IS ONE OF THE TOUGHEST INJURIES TO OVERCOME. >>AVERAGE ACL REHABILITATION PROGRAM IS ANYWHERE FROM SIX TO NINE MONTHS. IT COULD BE AS LONG AS 12 MONTHS OR FURTHER DEPENDING ON OTHERRING FACTORS. >>I WAS LIKE READY TO GET MOVING. I WAS LIKE, OKAY, LET’S GET THE SURGERY AS QUICK AS POSSIBLE AND GET ME IN REHAB. THE FIRST TIME, I COULDN’T JUGGLE THE BALL TWICE. AND I CAN GET THOUSANDS OF JUGGLES. IT WAS A MOMENT OF PANIC, LIKE IS EVERYTHING GONE? EVERYTHING I WORKED FOR, I HAVE TO DO IT ALL AGAIN. >>Reporter: IT TOOK TEN MONTHS OF INTENSE REHABILITATION FOR HER TO BUILD HERSELF BACK. ON SEPTEMBER 17th, 2017, SHE WAS FINALLY READY TO PLAY IN HER FIRST FULL GAME. >>SO THE FIRST TIME I WAS ALLOWED TO PLAY 90 MINUTES, A FULL GAME, WAS AGAINST SANTA CLARA. >>ANDY SULLIVAN WORKED BACK INTO THE FOLD. SHE HAS FOUGHT BACK TO GET TO THIS POINT. >>IT WAS SEAMLESS. YOU WOULDN’T HAVE THOUGHT THAT THIS GIRL WAS RECOVERING FROM SUCH A DETRIMENTAL INJURY. >>SULLIVAN SEND IT OUT WIDE. SHE’LL HAVE A HIT FROM RANGE. AND SHE’S GOT THE OPENING GOAL. >>I WASN’T HESITANT. I WASN’T TIRED. I WASN’T NERVOUS. I JUST FELT LIKE MYSELF FOR THE FIRST TIME, AND THAT WAS AN AMAZING FEELING. >>AND STANFORD COMES AWAY A 2- 1 WINNER HERE TONIGHT. >>THIS YEAR MY HOPE IS THAT SHE CAN LEAD US TO A PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIP AND A NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP. >>I AM SO STOKED TO BE ABLE TO SEE HER SUCCEED IN EVERY ASPECT OF LIFE. >>I THINK HE WAS CHANGED A LOT BY THIS INJURY. I UNDERSTAND WHAT IT’S LIKE TO STRUGGLE AND I UNDERSTAND WHAT IT’S LIKE TO DOUBT MYSELF. I LOVE SOCCER, AND I’M SO HAPPY TO BE BACK PLAYING IT. THIS INJURY MADE ME MORE HUNGRY

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