While Berkeley Prep All-American goalkeeper Bryane Heaberlin recovered from successful surgery Friday to repair a fractured tibia and fibula in her right leg in a St. Petersburg hospital bed, she received a phone call from a someone who could relate to exactly what she was going through.
On the other end of the line was all-time U.S. women's national team leading scorer Abby Wambach, who suffered the same injury to her left leg two years ago in an on-field collision, costing her the chance to play in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
"It was great," Heaberlin said Friday night. "She's living proof that you can come back from that injury and I can, too. When I first got hurt, I was pretty depressed and distraught, but all the doctors have been really nice and helpful in reassuring me that it's not a career-ending surgery."
The 17-year-old Heaberlin, a Parade high school All-American and member of the under-20 women's national team,was injured in Wednesday's scoreless tie with Clearwater Central Catholic in a collision while making a save.
She had surgery Friday at Bayfront Medical Center. Doctors placed a steel rod in her tibia, her father Bryan Heaberlin said. Since the ligaments were still attached to the bone, no metal plates were needed in the surgery.
Heaberlin will obviously miss next week's U-20 national team camp in Sunrise, and she said her high school season is likely over, but Bryan Heaberlin said doctors told him his daughter would be able to walk and bear weight on the leg Saturday. She can immediately begin rehab, with will include riding a stationary bike and aqua therapy.
"I would say so," Bryane Heaberlin said when asked if she believed her high school season was over. "I don't think I'd be 100 percent for another three months."
The ultimate goal is for Heaberlin be 100 percent in time for the 2012 college spring season. Heaberlin has committed to national soccer power North Carolina and hopes to graduate a semester early so she can enroll at UNC in January 2012.
-- EDUARDO A. ENCINA (firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @EddieHometeam)