Sydney O’Hara returns to form in all facets after arm injury

first_imgSydney O’Hara’s hand began to swell and she couldn’t grip a softball. Her arm, which won her 16 games during her freshman year, became fatigued. Something was wrong, but O’Hara didn’t know what it was. During spring break last year, she saw a doctor who thought she had a blood clot. After a sonogram proved otherwise, O’Hara continued to pitch. After two weeks of pain, doctors finally diagnosed her with Golfer’s Elbow, a condition that causes pain on the inner side of the elbow. The first team All-Atlantic Coast Conference player as a freshman was shut down, not allowed to do anything but run for six months. “Over the summer it was very tough because I couldn’t pick up a softball,” O’Hara said. “It was just very hard and I was very frustrated because I knew it was going to take time to get back to normal.”Through 13 games this season, O’Hara has proven she’s back. She can’t pitch a full game yet, but she can still be effective. In 16 innings, O’Hara boasts a 1.31 earned run average in the circle and she hasn’t made an error when playing left field. At the plate, she’s recorded nine hits and five RBI’s.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textEach day over the summer she rehabbed in her nearby hometown, Cicero, hoping to get her right arm from 50 percent to 100. When she returned to SU in the fall she was put on a throwing program. O’Hara doesn’t talk about her injury when surrounded by teammates. Assistant coach Alisa Goler only hears about O’Hara’s injury when they speak one-on-one. Goler worries about athletes who have been out for a long time that try to push themselves too hard. “It’s very nerve-wracking for them when they’re finally back,” Goler said. “They get overjoyed … then they get put back to the everyday routine stuff and they start to get a little nervous because they don’t want the injury to happen again.”Goler said she can tell when O’Hara is holding back and thinking about her injury. The biggest step in rehab, Goler said, is believing the injury won’t happen again.Senior shortstop Corinne Ozanne said O’Hara “doesn’t do anything stupid.” Ozanne, who’s had to deal with injuries herself, recognizes that it’s easy to lose sight of recovery goals when injuries occur.“Mentally it takes a strain on you,” Ozanne said. “Physically, it’s just awful … you sit back and it tears you apart mentally, physically you have to work that much harder to get back to where everyone else is at.” O’Hara has taken over a different role this season. The junior has pitched, played the field and been the designated hitter. She’s provided a dimension that no other SU pitcher can. When O’Hara is pitching, the Orange doesn’t need to use a pinch hitter.“It’s tough. I’ll be hitting and they’ll say, ‘Go warm up.’ Or I’ll be playing in the field and they’ll say, ‘Go warm up,’” O’Hara said. “I’m back and forth. I don’t complain about it because it’s my job.”In the fall, Syracuse head coach Mike Bosch made sure to give O’Hara’s arm a break, allowing her to hit more than pitch. As a result, she’s emerged as Syracuse’s closer, Bosch said.But in both areas, she’s helped SU. In four games this past weekend, she recorded six hits and allowed just one run in six and one third innings.The swelling and pain that O’Hara dealt with last season is mostly gone. And with her improved physical health, she’s gradually inching back to the form that garnered her accolades as a freshman.“From a pitching standpoint I’ve been really impressed with her ability to throw strikes and go through the order,” Bosch said. “… batting-wise things always go up and down, we just want her to be consistent throughout the year.” Comments Published on March 2, 2016 at 9:04 pm Contact Jack: [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more