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September 29, 2023

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Track member recovers from injuries through team support, encouragement

Injuries, like many surprises in life, come out of the blue.

They can come out of nowhere in a second, yet take weeks, even months, to recover from. For an athlete, one of the hardest things to do is recover from an injury and continue to perform on a high level. For redshirt senior Jeannette Pettigrew, a sprint and relay runner for the Falcons, it is safe to say that she’s managed to do both.

Last year, Pettigrew was forced to redshirt her indoor season due to a hamstring injury. After going through the rehabilitation process, however, she has managed to come back and have a good season thus far.

This year, Pettigrew has become one of 10ww players to hit an automark to qualify for the Mid-American Conference Indoor championship in two weeks. She has also managed to set a new personal record at the Findlay Open this year.

At the beginning of the season her goals were to stay healthy and make sure that she left some words of wisdom to the freshmen and sophomores of the team. As a senior, Pettigrew wanted them to know that it is okay to ask questions about being a student athlete and they can come to the upperclassmen for those issues.

“Even when they don’t feel comfortable, I let them know that they have us older women to look up to, ask questions… and let them know that they do have resources, you’re not in this alone,” she said.

For Pettigrew, the recovery process went well because of the support of her teammates and coaches encouraging her.

“They played a very important role, I would say, because it’s not easy being injured,” she said. “To have those people pick you up and encourage you to keep going, it helps out a lot.”

Pettigrew was still able to participate in the practices and drills so she could still be a part of the team.

From her teammates’ view, Dana Gates, Pettigrew has really improved in terms of ability and can get even better as well. Gates also, along with fellow teammate Natasha Greggs, believes she’s stepped up in speed and kept her work ethic strong so that one would have never known she was injured.

Off the field, they said Pettigrew is realistic and dedicated to doing her best at all times. She’s also good at keeping her composure in pressure moments, but she has become more open about asking for advice when she needs help.

“That’s one thing I have noticed that has changed, she’s has taken the time to ask people for help and express herself,” said Greggs.

Pettigrew’s coaches have also realized how far she has come from last year, outside of her ability on the track. Being one of five seniors, Pettigrew has had to step up as an athlete and teammate.

“She is a captain for our team, she’s my quarterback, she translates from me to the younger people when that’s necessary,” Assistant Track and Field Coach James Gildon said. “But the biggest thing I see is her leadership ability and the leadership she exemplifies on a day-to-day basis.”

For those who are going through her type of injury, Pettigrew said she would tell them to take their time with the injury and to not stress over it. To accept the injury, deal with the training and move on.

“I would tell them to be patient and not stress, because if you’re already injured and stressing about trying to get back to the track, that stress doesn’t really help your recovering process,” she said. “Accept it and work towards getting stronger and learning what you need to do in order to prevent it from happening.”

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