Welcome to Behind the G! This is a Georgia Way platform that shares student-athlete stories, hobbies, and what is important to them. To the world, student-athletes are viewed by their outcomes in their sports, but they are so much more than that. Our goal is to share with the world in their own words who they are as people, and the numerous ways they represent the G on and off the field.
My name is Amanda Cashman and I am a sophomore on the gymnastics team at UGA. Last year, six meets into my freshman season, I tore my achilles. Being a gymnast my entire life, I was used to getting injuries and coming back from them. However, none of my injuries were as bad as this one. Most of my injuries would take a month or two to heal, then I was back to training. However, this injury required surgery and an estimated year recovery time.
One of the hardest parts about tearing my Achilles was not the physical comeback. It was having to sit through the rest of the season unable to help my team and having to deal with such a long recovery time. To add to that, after my first physical therapy appointment, the entire team was sent home to quarantine. This led to another problem concerning how and where I am going to rehab my foot.
When I first got home to New Jersey, I was not allowed to walk, so the issue of not being able to go to physical therapy was not too bad. When the time came for me to start walking and rehabbing my foot, I had to find somewhere to go. For about a month I was unable to get into a physical therapy facility. However, that did not stop me from continuing on with my rehab. I would Facetime weekly with our athletic trainer, Doug Contaoi, and physical therapist, Mike Dew, so they could assess my progress. When I was finally able to go to physical therapy in person, Doug and Mike both coordinated with the doctors in New Jersey to make sure I was on the right path.
While doing physical therapy at home, I was able to go from not being able to walk, to running a few months later! Like much of the country, many non-essential businesses were forced to shut down because of COVID-19. This included gymnastics facilities, which meant I could not train in any gymnastics skills the entire time I was home. By the time we were allowed back on campus, I was far enough along in my recovery that I was finally able to start gymnastics training again. Once I arrived back on campus, I was evaluated by Doug, Mike, as well as my surgeon, Dr. Stephen White. After my follow up with Dr. White, I was excited to hear that my recovery was going well and I was ahead of schedule. After that appointment I slowly moved forward with my gymnastics training. First we started with bars, then beam and floor, then lastly vault.
By the time competition season came around I was proud of myself for making a complete comeback in less than a year. An injury like this is an athlete’s worst nightmare. When it first happened, I had a lot of doubt running through my mind. With the support of my teammates, family, coaches and doctors, I was able to fully recover from my Achilles tear. More importantly, I was able to make a comeback to the sport I love and support my team.
Amanda Cashman – UGA Gymnastics