After breaking her back her senior year of high school, Morgan Alfaro’s whole life changed. She couldn’t go to school, practice or even hang out with friends.
The pain was overwhelming, and suddenly her college career was in jeopardy.
The doctors said it would be at least a year before she could even consider getting back in the gym. When someone has been knocked down for that long it is difficult to get back up.
“It is hard mentally, emotionally and physically to come back to this sport when you have had the chance to get a taste of what it is like to be an actual person,” Alfaro said.
By “actual person” Alfaro is referring to those who don’t spend 25 hours a week practicing. After partially recovering, she was able to participate in high school events she would usually miss because of gym practice.
While she enjoyed living a normal life, Alfaro knew she couldn’t couldn’t settle into being average forever. However, after an injury as serious as Alfaro’s, there is a risk the athlete might not be the same as before. The effects could limit practice time or alter pre-injury skills and personal drive.
Personal drive was hardly a problem for Alfaro. She outpaced the doctor’s estimated recovery time and was back doing full blown gymnastics in seven months.
All of this happened while Alfaro entered a new chapter in her life at SUU.
She was now attending a college six hours away from home, living on her own and adjusting to the new level of education. She had to adapt to new coaches and find her role on the team while coming off of a serious injury.
On her first day of practice at SUU, Alfaro looked like she hadn’t missed a beat. She came in and vaulted like she was recruited to do. Everyone was shocked. Alfaro kept improving, refusing to let her back injury keep her from her goals. She eventually earned a spot on the Flippin’ Birds’ vault lineup by the first meet of the 2018 season.
Eight meets into the 2018 season, Alfaro took a fall in practice and broke her foot. Her season was over again.
Alfaro didn’t let it get to her. Despite not being able to compete, she traveled with the team because of the energy she brings. She will make a comeback for the 2019 season.
“I just really think pushing through and finishing out the last four years I have left of college and gymnastics is just one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life,” Alfaro said.
Alfaro is a true representation of an athlete with the courage and strength every school wants on their team. She isn’t afraid of being herself. You can pick her out of a crowd because of her huge smile, crazy dance moves and the loud encouraging voice she uses to motivate her teammates.
Story by: Maddie Loomis for SUU News
Photo by: SUU Athletics Strategic Communication