Viera, FL- October 17, 2017- It was recently announced that eleven Pride players were invited to participate at the 2018 USA Softball Women’s National Team Selection Camp this January.
Among the eleven invited was Pride standout Lauren Chamberlain who will not be attending, as she is currently recovering from a recent shoulder surgery.
Lauren first started to notice a pain in her arm her senior year in college. At the time, it wasn’t bad enough to draw attention to it, it was simply as Lauren describes a “nagging, annoying pain”. In her final year with Oklahoma, Lauren was drafted in the 2015 NPF College Draft as the number one overall pick and went straight into her first professional season soon after. The quick turnaround from being a college athlete to professional athlete put bit of a strain on her arm, but nothing too serious to keep her out of the game.
It wasn’t until the off season following her rookie year that Lauren began to notice a lot more pain in her right bicep. It was a deeper pain and nothing she had ever felt before. Fast forward to her second professional season with the Pride and Lauren kept pushing through the pain.
“It got to the point where a hot flash of pain would flow down my arm when I’d let go of the ball while throwing, and it started to affect my hitting. I found myself in the DP position more and more,” Lauren shared. “The MRI showed a front SLAP tear in the labrum, along with some bursitis and tendonitis in my bicep area.”
At this moment Lauren’s doctor decided to try PRP (Platelet-rich plasma therapy), a treatment that allows the body to attempt and heal itself. Lauren underwent 6-7 injections of PRP but after rehabbing that fall her arm wasn’t improving and the pain began to affect her everyday activities.
“I had little stability when I would reach across my body or behind me, and I would feel my shoulder start to almost pop out when I’d carry groceries. I decided to get a second MRI in January of 2017 and it showed an anterior and posterior true SLAP tear, and an upper bicep tear. At that point, it was deciding whether to get the surgery and be out for season due to a six month recovery, or be there for my team offensively that summer.”
Lauren decided to put off the surgery until the following season and embraced her role as the Pride’s designated player for the entirety of her third season.
Immediately after her third season, Lauren underwent her first major surgery in hopes of providing her right arm the stability and functional ability she lost with the hope to then return to the defensive side of the game as well. The doctors went in and stitched up the tears in her labrum and bicep, put in three anchors, and cleaned up small scuffs in her rotator cuff.
There will be a six to eight month recovery window for Lauren, but USSSA Pride Athletic Trainer Sonya Montoya assured us that Lauren will be back for her fourth season healthy and ready to compete. Since her surgery, Lauren has been trying to adjust to small changes that she previously took for granted.
“I didn’t fully take into consideration the fact that it was my right, dominant arm that would be knocked out for a while. That has been the most frustrating part. I have to do my makeup with my left hand, my roommate does my hair, and I have to sleep on my back. My overall enthusiasm has been down since I had my surgery, but I have great people in my life that are keeping my spirits up.”
As far as her personal goals go, Lauren has completed her first one, which was to be off of all pain medication within the first week of her surgery. At five weeks Lauren can begin the tough physical therapy process and will get started with her therapists, Seaton, and USSSA trainer, Sony, on different goals they want to accomplish. The main goal is to be physically sound in all areas of her body at the end of the six month recovery period.
This is not something any athlete wants to go through but it’s a learning process that has really pushed Lauren not only physically but mentally as well.
“I’ve learned a few things during this process. How to slow down and be OK with stillness, to listen to my body, and to think in long-term instead of short-term. I’ve also learned that the power of our thoughts are huge, how important our friends and family are to our overall well being, and how many good shows are binge-worthy on Netflix. My advice to any athlete going through something similar would be to start picturing how awesome your comeback is going to be. We need to see ourselves playing our best, playing in games being healthy, repeatedly again in your head. That way, when we get on that field again, we’ll be better than when we left.”
About USSSA Florida Pride:
The USSSA Florida Pride is a professional franchise in the National Pro Fastpitch League that is owned and operated by USSSA. The amateur organization of USSSA has multi-sport coverage and encompasses teams and players from the United States and abroad.
National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Nashville, TN. The league, created to give elite female fastpitch players the opportunity to pursue a professional career in their chosen sport, has operated since 1997 under the names of Women’s Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women’s Pro Softball League (WPSL). NPF is the Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball in the category of women’s fastpitch softball since 2002.
USSSA is headquartered in Brevard County, Florida. USSSA is the World’s Largest Multi-sport Athletic Organization. Founded in 1968, USSSA has grown to over 3.7 million participants, competing in 13 nationally sanctioned sports including Baseball, Fastpitch, Slow Pitch, Karate, Basketball, Soccer and more! For more information on USSSA and to register your team visit USSSA.com