Senior All-American center Stefanie Dolson proved her toughness to the nation last season during UConn’s pursuit of an NCAA record-tying eighth national championship. Hobbled by a stress fracture in a non-weight bearing bone in her right ankle and plantar fasciitis in her left foot, she started all six games and averaged 24.3 minutes.
With a championship within reach, the decision to persevere was an easy one for Dolson. However, the decision to give up the game for several months following the season was not as easy.
Dolson understood that she needed rest. Downtime represented a true remedy for her ailments. But the longer she was inactive the more difficult it became.
“At first I was like, `Oh, I’ll get rest and my body will feel great,’’’ Dolson said. “After the first few weeks, a month, whatever, I was just like, `I need to go out and play.’ And I actually did. There was one time I went and played. I just wanted to see how I felt and after that I was like, `No, I have to let it rest.’ It was tough. I tried shooting around with the boot on, but that didn’t really work out easily.’’
Dolson had an air cast on her right foot for about three months. She wore a walking boot on her left foot until mid-June.
During her internship at SNY this summer Dolson was forced to walk around New York City with the boot on. That was an experience she will not forget.
“Being in the city with a boot is terrible,’’ Dolson said. “Don’t ever do it. It was so awful.’’
As difficult as it was for Dolson to rest, she is now reaping the benefits. She is back to full strength, competing in pick-up games and individual workouts.
Her first individual workout was Sept. 3. Practice will officially begin Oct. 19.
“Everything’s 100 percent,’’ Dolson said. “It feels good to kind of be back in the swing of things and have our schedule.’’
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Here’s more from Dolson on her thoughts about playing through pain during the NCAA tournament …
“No one expected me to be able to do it or to do it at all,’’ Dolson said. “When I was a freshman any time I got hurt I was a baby. And I think I’ve just matured so much as a player and Coach has taught me so much of kind of pushing through. So to see myself do that and be able to play through it and tough it out because I think it hurt more than people thought it did. But I was proud of myself for being able to do it.’’