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Tom Sible: A long road back

Despite injuries, Sible stays determined

By Curtis Pulliam
On April 18, 2012

Lacrosse is just a game to some people. To others, it is a way of life.

For Tom Sible, it is something he can't live without.

"It has been a dream of mine to play a college sport," said Sible, a defensive midfielder. "I love to compete and I love the on-the-go lifestyle."

Even though Sible loves the lifestyle, his journey to maintain it has been anything but easy.

Sible started playing lacrosse in eighth grade, thanks to a friend and former teammate, Danny Kransberger.

"Danny's dad was the coach and he got me into playing," said Sible. "I actually broke my thumb in the first game I played but it was still a lot of fun."

The thumb injury sidelined Sible until the last game of that season, but it didn't keep him from competing in high school.

Sible played well enough on both his club and high school teams to be noticed by Detroit Mercy coach Matt Holtz.

In addition to lacrosse, Sible also played football as a defensive back and running back. It was in the third game of his senior year that the difficult road began.

"It was on the opening kick-off," Sible said. "I caught the ball and started running up the middle. Then at about the 30-yard line I went to cut up and I heard an explosion in my knee. I fell to the ground instantly."

Sible was diagnosed with a torn ACL, MCL and meniscus. He knew his football season was over, and he felt quite sure what Holtz would say when he heard about the injury.

"I was nervous to talk to him at first," said Sible, referring to Holtz. "But we talked and he still wanted me to come and play for him so that was a big relief."

In November 2009, Sible signed his letter of intent.

Sible went on to have surgery to repair his right knee. Holtz recommended the doctor.

After a tough six-and-a-half months of rehab, he returned to the playing field, this time for lacrosse.

"It was about the middle of May 2010 when I returned to playing," said Sible. "In high school that is near the end of the season and I was just picking the game back up again."

Just five games after returning to action, Sible had the unthinkable happen.

"It was against our biggest rival and it was for the conference championship," said Sible. "We were playing in bad weather and we were up big late in the game. I ran to save a ball from going out of bounds, picked it up and went to plant on my leg. I knew instantly it happened again."

This time Sible would undergo surgery to fix his torn ACL and meniscus. The same physician performed the procedure and this time Sible received an ACL from a cadaver to replace the one he had.  

Once again, he began the rehab process.

"The surgery didn't hurt this time, so that was nice," Sible said. "I was doing fine in rehab and everything seemed to be good again."

However, in November of 2010, while hanging out with his friends, Sible was accidently bumped and again felt the same pain.

He returned to the surgeon, who declined to operate a third time.

"I had to go back home and have someone that I know do it," he said. "It was that or have a surgery that would have ended my playing career and I didn't want that."

In the process, Sible got his ACL fixed and his Meniscus out He was left with little to no cartilage in his knee.

"This time the rehab took about a year," Sible said. "I had the surgery in January of 2011 and started to play again in January of this year."

Sible has been injury-free since, and has played in all 12 games for the Titans this season, having no goals but three assists. To make sure he doesn't get hurt again, he wears a knee brace.

"I have my own custom-made braces," Sible said. "I have already gone through four braces so far this season from all the force I put on my knee."

Sible admits the process has been tough but believes it has helped him be a good teammate.

"I think it has made me a better teammate for many reasons," Sible said. "Just having to watch for a long time has made me realize and appreciate the game from both on and off the field."

 

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