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Berrah is back

CU soccer star Lina Berrah returns to the field after ACL injury
Lina Berrah (center) returns to the soccer field after recovering from an ACL injury in October of 2022. (Photo by CU Sports Information)

Every athlete’s worst nightmare is getting injured, and Lina Berrah knows what it’s like to have that fear become a reality.

Oct. 27, 2022, Berrah was playing the last soccer game of the regular season against Campbellsville University’s (CU) biggest rival, the Lindsey Wilson Blue Raiders. When trying to steal the ball, her foot got stuck in the ground as she was trying to turn left. At that moment, she felt pain in her knee and heard a popping sound. She immediately knew something was wrong.

“I was able to walk off the field, so I had no idea that I had completely torn my ACL,” Berrah said.

This was her first-ever serious injury.

Athletic Trainer Elly Wright said she knew quickly that Berrah had torn her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). She re-evaluated her the next day and scheduled a doctor visit, doing what she could to help Berrah get ready for what was ahead.

“I knew Lina would need surgery as soon as her diagnosis was confirmed, so we did everything we could to get her ready for that as seamlessly as possible,” Wright said. “A lot of that was working on getting swelling down, pain under control and getting her muscles to work again.”

On Nov. 14, 2022, Berrah had surgery to repair her ACL.

A big moment in Berrah’s recovery was when she was finally able to run again. Running is such an important part of soccer, and Wright remembered Berrah being so excited. Wright said it helps an athlete to see that playing a sport they love is possible, when for months it’s felt like it might not be.

“I am so incredibly proud of Lina,” Wright said. “It doesn’t feel like her injury happened all that long ago, but it’s been almost a year. She has been so consistent, patient and compliant with anything I have asked of her, and her recovery clearly proves that hard work pays off.”

Berrah said this injury was the most challenging thing she’s had to overcome in her life. She said it was so hard to sit on the bench and watch her teammates.

“It was much more a mental battle than a physical one,” Berrah said. “You wish every day that you could be with them. You also regret not having appreciated and enjoyed every single minute you got to play soccer.”

Soccer has been such a pivotal part of Berrah’s life. In 2021, she traveled to CU from her home in Switzerland to play soccer. In her freshman year, Berrah earned second-team all-conference. In the 18 games she played, she scored eight goals and had seven assists. In her sophomore season, she played in 14 games, scored seven goals and had three assists. She also earned second-team all-conference, academic all-conference, and NAIA scholar-athlete.

Berrah, who is currently in her junior year at CU, credits her teammates, family, friends and athletic trainer for helping her during her recovery process.

Olja Ivanovic, a fifth-year student-athlete from Serbia, is one of Berrah’s many teammates who was there the day Berrah tore her ACL.

“We tried to be a family for her while going through this process since we know it was difficult, especially being away from her family,” Ivanovic said. “I feel super proud of what she has accomplished so far and how all the effort that she has put into recovering is showing today. I can’t wait to play next to her again for a couple more games that I have here.”

After almost a year, Berrah is back on the field.

In her first game back on Sept. 30, she played and scored.

“Celebrating all the little victories and progress along the way is the most important thing for me,” Berrah said.

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About the Contributor
Oriana Espinoza Mendoza
Oriana Espinoza Mendoza is a junior originally from Venezuela, but she's been living in North Carolina since she was 14 years old. She is a mass communication area major with a minor in sports management. She's also a member of the Campbellsville University women's tennis team. She really enjoys playing a variety of sports and cooking with and for her family. This is her first year reporting for The Campus Times.

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