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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Dosty’s back in swing of things

    Having spent the last year injured and in post-surgery rehabilitation, UA junior volleyball player Whitney Dosty couldn’t be more excited to suit up and slip back into her spot as a starting outside hitter this weekend.

    Easier said than done.

    Ever since Dosty was nine years old, she has had Osgood-Schlatter disease, the result of rapid growth and stretching of tendons around the knee’s growth plate.

    “”I’ve had it since I was nine, but it started hurting last year,”” said Dosty, who is 6-foot-3. “”So (last year’s problems) really started out as a growing pain.””

    The team’s athletic trainer, Emily Johnson, explained that what started as an injury in her right knee last summer at the Junior Olympics in Thailand, resulted in a separate injury in her left knee, or the patella femoral.

    “”We’ve been working pretty much year-round to keep her quads and hamstrings strong so that the joint functions properly,”” Johnson said. “”It’s pretty similar to what athletes in other jumping sports often go through.

    “”It can be painful, it’s a lot of ups and downs,”” Johnson added. “”But I don’t think there’s an athlete out here that’s playing a hundred percent pain free.””

    For Dosty, rehab after surgery was the worst part. Having to build her quad muscle and bring it back up to speed was physically demanding: it was completely gone, and it’s still not back to its original strength and size.

    “”It used to be a noticeable difference – (my knee) was all flabby and skinny,”” Dosty said with a laugh.

    During her long and tedious wait, the time spent recovering was as a fan instead of the usual star player.

    It was a different experience, to say the least.

    “”I usually just sat on the sidelines during games and iced my knee,”” Dosty said. “”I’d be sitting there with a big old ice jug, or I’d do rehab … or ride a bike.

    “”It was tough having to sit out, but I think it was better off in the end,”” she added. “”I learned a lot.””

    Though injuries are never planned for or welcomed in sports, some of her teammates have noticed a positive change in Dosty’s performance.

    “”I think that being hurt has motivated her to be a better volleyball player in general because she got to spend time observing the game more and really understanding it,”” said senior Brittany Leonard. “”She has a more intense attitude now that she’s back because she’s been anxiously waiting.””

    Leonard also feels that she can depend more on her younger teammate than she could when Dosty played two seasons ago as a freshman.

    “”I remember she was still a little timid when she got here,”” Leonard said. “”Now she seems a lot more experienced.””

    Head coach David Rubio is as thrilled as everyone else on the team is that Dosty has been cleared to play. After all, she averaged 3.39 kills per game and was part of the All-Pacific 10 Conference Team her freshman year. Rubio anticipates that Dosty’s return is just the first of many more great achievements.

    “”She’s fully healthy and ready to go, and it’s been really great having her,”” Rubio said. “”Whitney has really developed into a volleyball player, and she’ll

    continue to get better and better as the season goes on.

    “”She’s still an infant in her development,”” he added. “”As good as she is already, she’s still going to be, I think, significantly better with time.””

    With all of the buzz about Dosty’s return, one might wonder if the pressure being put on her shoulders is fair, or if she’s even is aware of it.

    “”I wouldn’t say I feel any pressure, it’s more (about) proving to myself how good I can be,”” Dosty said. “”After surgery, I knew I was going to be fine, but being back in a mental state was a big part.

    “”I’ve sat out a year and have been waiting so long to play. I’m going to go out there and do the best I can. It feels good to

    be back.””

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