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Tell City’s volleyball and girls basketball teams were dealt a severe blow when Kassidie Hayes tore an anterior cruciate ligament in an AAU volleyball tourney recently.
It was also a blow to Hayes’ college scholarship opportunities for volleyball.
More than 10 college coaches were reportedly seriously scouting her at the tourney but now they won’t get another chance to see her play before the final signing period, as she will miss her entire senior high school season.
A 6-foot senior center-forward in basketball, she could also be a college prospect in that sport. But she will miss at least part of that season as well and probably won’t be full strength until the season is about over.
There is a way she could have strong, complete senior volleyball and basketball seasons and showcase herself again for college scouts though.
She would have to withdraw from school for the 2014-15 year (unlike college, Indiana high school athletes can’t attend classes while redshirting in a sport) and then come back for her senior year in 2015-16.
That is the path Cannelton basketball and baseball player Steve Bennett took 30 years ago.
Bennett tore an ACL as a junior in the fall of 1982.
He withdrew from school and came back to play two more years, graduating in 1985 instead of 1984.
At first the IHSAA said he would be ineligible for sports the first semester of the 1983-84 because he had attended school more than 16 days before getting hurt in the 1982-83 school year. But his family sued and won that case in court.
Since Hayes’ senior year does not start for another month, that would not be an issue for her.
Bennett did get to play college baseball, pitching one year for Oakland City and then two years for the University of Evansville.
“Every situation is different,” he said Monday. “However, I would most definitely advise her to make sure her knee heals correctly the first time! I had a doctor who approached my recovery very conservatively. To this day, at 48 years old, I am still thankful for that.
“I have some knee issues but am still an active runner who is grateful to be able to do that. There are others younger than me who have had to have full knee replacements.
“I am not privy to (current) IHSAA rules. However I know others who have sat out for injury purposes. My nephew, Geoff Bennett, a three-year starter at quarterback for Castle’s football team, was injured the last regular-season game of his senior year.
“He sat out the remainder of that school year and returned the second semester of his senior year to play in over 75 percent of the basketball season and sectional.
“With AAU sports, I am sure the recruiting process is much different than when I was in school. However, I do know that Division I, II or III scholarships are much different financially and many times scholastically. So, their family needs to make the decision that is best according to her potential offers.”
He said he didn’t think laying out a year would hamper her chances at college success, but trying to come back too soon might.
“What I see as a hamper is what the Redskins did to RG 3 (Robert Griffin III, their quarterback). I know that he is their employee. However, he was not given the opportunity to heal correctly. It will be a shame if he never makes it back to his full potential.”
So Bennett said he has “no regrets about sitting out. I still believe our decision was in my best interest.
“My advantages were that I healed correctly. I do believe I was healthy for my senior year.
“In addition, I did graduate with a more athletic class. This enabled me to have some opportunities, such as competing in the championship game of the Boonville basketball sectional, that I would not have had.
“In college, it was also an advantage to be a year older than the other freshman athletes. This was good for me in the classroom as well as in athletic competition.”
He did admit that there were some social disadvantages.
“I had been with the same classmates for 10 full years - 11 counting kindergarten - and did not graduate with them. I missed my first junior prom; however I still got to attend the next year.
“It is also strange to not go to class reunions of my original class.”
So those are some of the pros and cons for Hayes and her family to consider.
Her mom, Dalonda Hayes, said Monday that her surgery has been moved up to today and her doctor said it would take four to six months for recovery, so she may get to play much of the basketball season.
Dalonda also said that Kassidie may be most interested in competing in track in college, and she should be completely healthy for her senior season in that sport.
She placed eighth in the state in the shot put last spring, and Murray State University is among those that have talked to her about joining their team in that sport.
So she has a lot of factors to consider in whatever decision she makes.