AUSTIN, Minn. (KTTC) – Austin Packers junior guard Colie Justice is back and better than ever. After leading the Packers in scoring as a freshman, she’s doing it again as a junior. But Colie knows just how close this was to never happening. Last year, she suffered a devastating knee injury that left her questioning if her basketball career would continue at all.
“I don’t know how I made it through last season,” she said. “It was tough. I was like ‘I don’t know if I’ll ever be back.'”
Before her high school season started, Colie played a strenuous AAU schedule as she looked to improve her game. As her final summer-league game winded down, disaster struck.
“I was going in for a lay up. I got a steal, going in for a fast break lay up, and two girls ran right into me and completely tore my left ACL.”
After her injury, Colie turned to the best. She had surgery performed at the Mayo Clinic, by Timberwolves and USA Basketball’s team physician Diane Dahm. After that, nearly a year of rehab and physical therapy followed.
“You, for sure, appreciate it so much more,” said Justice. “In the beginning, the game meant so much to me. But now it just means even more.”
The scar still remains, but the injury doesn’t. Packers Head Coach Eric Zoske saw how hard his star player worked this offseason, and knew it would pay off.
“She really busted her tail this summer,” he said. “She’s worked really hard. Nothing is given to her, and all the success that she’s getting is from hard work.”
The Junior Point Guard is averaging 17 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals in the early going this year, and she’s found a silver lining to her sophomore setback.
“I believe things happen for a reason. You may never know the reason why, but it’s good to be back,” she said with a smile.
Colie Justice of the Austin Girls Packers Team is this week’s KTTC NewsCenter Sports Athlete of the Week.