For athletes, there are very few obstacles that are harder to climb than injuries. A hard collision or an awkward fall can take countless hours of hard work to rehabilitate, denying athletes the opportunity to enjoying the craft they have worked so hard to perfect.

Few know this struggle more than Fairfield’s own Faith Daley ‘18. Daley is a center midfielder for the women’s soccer team. Last year in a playoff game against Niagara University, Daley suffered a torn ACL. “I planted my left foot to cut towards the ball, a Niagara player stepped on my foot and my knee popped out,” recalled Daley. A torn ACL is one of the most brutal injuries in sports. “It awful. It’s a terrible injury. I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone,” said Daley.

Professional athletes such as Tom Brady, Tiger Woods and Rajon Rondo have missed up to a full calendar year in their sports due to ACL injuries. Remarkably, Daley was able to recover in less than 10 months, as she was available to play at the start of the season this past fall. “I was strongly motivated,” said Daley. “I definitely wanted to come back and play this season. I wanted to do everything I could to come back.”

The road to recovery is not an easy one from a torn ACL. After surgery, athletes must prepare themselves for months of physical therapy. The most basic lower body movements can cause an intense amount of pain. After Daley had completed physical therapy, she had to return to the ever constant grind of being a Division I athlete. “It was not easy,” said Daley on returning to the soccer pitch.

“Last year I worked hard to earn my spot, this year I had to do it all again. Everything from getting a touch on the ball to going into tackles was harder just from not having done it in so many months.” Daley improved as the season went on; she only started once in the first nine games. Then against Stony Brook at the season’s midpoint, Daley became a full-time starter. Fairfield would only lose once in Daley’s first four starts after her mid-season promotion.

For Daley, it was going to take a lot more than that to slow her down. “I’ve been playing soccer my whole life,” said Daley. “Ever since I was a little kid, whether it was playing in the yard with my brother or my parents signing me up for soccer.” Now a full year removed from her injury, Daley has her eyes set forward on what the future has to offer for her in her team. “I want us to be better as a team, and for no injuries,” said Daley. “We also want a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship, that’s what you play the game for.”

To make a comeback from a torn ACL and then to go through the physical workload of playing a Division I sport is remarkable. This is exactly what makes Daley’s recovery story so inspiring, as she has come back with the same mentality as last year when she emerged as a shining star on this team.

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