Q&A: Emily Birlson (12)


Emily Birlson (12) smiles for a picture while she watches her teammates warm up on the courts. Birlson, who played No. 1 varsity doubles, was out due to an injured rotator cuff.

Colleen Quinn, Author

Q: How long have you been playing tennis?

A: I have been playing competitively since freshmen year.

Q: What did you do to your shoulder?

A: I have rotator cuff tendonitis, which means I have inflammation and irritation in my rotator cuff. I got it from too much serving and too hard of serving.

Q: What was your initial reaction when you found out you couldn’t play?

A: I was completely devastated. Everything I had worked for for four years was out of my control. I cried because that’s all I could do at the moment. The next few days I was a wreck and didn’t want to talk to anyone.

Q: What are you doing for recovery?

A: Well, I am trying to be the model patient. I am going to physical therapy three times a week, constantly icing, using different creams and anti-inflammatory medicine and resting it.

Q: What is your advice for other athletes who may be injured during their season?

A: Once you’re injured, there is nothing you can really do about it. You just have to stay positive and try the best you can to get better. If you don’t [heal quickly], just realize that it’s not the end of the world, and you have your whole life ahead of you. Your sport isn’t as important to your future as you think it is now.

Q: Do you have any comments on how an experience like this may be helpful?

A: [Being injured] really makes you a team player because you have to step back, and you have to let someone else take your position. You want them to do good, so you support them as much as you can.