Knee injury affects life-long player

Natalie Kuhn

More stories from Natalie Kuhn


Senior Aspen Olson competes in a game through her KC Rush soccer team at the age of 13.

What started as a small pain within the first week of her junior season of soccer has evolved into senior Aspen Olson battling an unknown knee injury for nearly a year. As a result of her undiagnosed knee injury, Olson will be unable to participate in her senior season of soccer. While injuries are not a foreign topic in high school athletics, Olson’s injury has had and will continue to have lasting effects on her sports career.

“At first, it would only hurt when I was playing soccer or when I would cut, or make sharp turns, or a sudden stop and start going into tackles. Things like that is when it would hurt at first,” Olson said. “Then after a couple months, it started hurting after I would stand up or be walking around for over an hour, then it’d just start to get achy.”

Olson met with athletic trainer Elizabeth Brown the day after the she began to feel pain in her kee after the first practice to evaluate the pain. In the following weeks, Olson attempted a routine of anti-inflammatory medications along with heat and ice compression. Additionally, Olson did physical therapy and wore a brace for activities. Even with the applied treatment the pain did not falter and Brown and Olson decided that consulting a specialized physician would be the next step.

It’s kind of weird with Aspen’s injury. Like, there’s no set injury exactly, there’s a couple of up-in-the air options of what it could be and nobody really has an answer,” Brown said. “She’s been to multiple doctors and they all say something different. I tried to put her into to contact with doctors that could help with her knee.”

Olson began playing soccer in her early childhood, around the age of three and has played competitively since the age of eight. Olson even played on Olympic Development Program teams for several years in addition to playing on the school’s soccer team since freshman year. Olson’s injury not only affects her own life, but that of the school soccer team as they are losing what head coach Scott Jantzi said was a valuable player.

“The three years that we were able to experience, she did do a great job and she was a vital part of our squad in our winning. We’re gonna miss that part of that leadership on a team,” Jantzi said.

Not only was Olson’s high school athletic career affected, her college career was also altered. Olson had announced in December 2017 that she was accepted to Emporia State University to study pre-med and play soccer in the fall season, although her most recent plan is to attend the University of Kansas.

“I decided to give my scholarship up because I had been out of commission for so long and so I would have had to train so much harder to get into shape,” Olson said. “I didn’t want to take a spot away from someone who would have been able to play right away.”

Even though Olson will not be able to participate in soccer, she decided to join the girls swim team to stay active while reducing weight bearing activity on her knee.

“I’ve gone for years being pretty involved in this school, so to spend my entire senior year doing nothing would have been a real struggle,” Olson said.