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Knapp repairs knee while her teammates prepare for title

The 2004 Demopolis High School softball season is nearing and with all of last years starters returning things are looking good for the defending State Champion Lady Tigers. But for one player the long off-season recently became a little longer and the road back to the state championship a little harder.

DHS sophomore and starting second basemen, Dorothy Knapp strained both her ACL and MCL in a ski incident over the Christmas break. And must now work harder than ever to return to action before the start of the season, which gets underway on February 24.

While other DHS players spend their afternoons working indenpendent on various softball fundamentals, Knapp takes a trip to see Physical Therapist Don Spreull, who is her worst nightmare right now.

“Mr. Spreull makes me do all these different exercises to help strengthen my knee. He is really fun to be around and you can tell that he really cares about seeing you recover from an injury. But when I come see him, it’s work. He makes it’s fun but tough,” Knapp said.

During her daily two-hour visit with Spreull, Knapp works through various strengthening exercises that are sure to tire anyone, injured or not.

From balance and conditioning exercises like throwing a nine-pound rubber ball against a trampoline while squatting and maintaining balance on two small air filled foot mats to more simple exercises like stair climbing and leg lifts.

It’s hard work and having Spreull right there to make sure she does all the exercises correctly makes it even tougher. But the hard work does pay off and every week Knapp can see a difference.

“When I first started coming I could barley walk on it and needed crutches to really move around.

After a week I was bale to walk with a limp. And now after two weeks I am able to walk normal. I know I’m getting better and as long as I continue to work I feel confident that I will be able to rejoin the team before the season starts,” Knapp said.

But when she returns is really a matter that can’t be determined by anyone other than Knapp. And DHS softball head coach Wayne Harris knows that Knapp is a tough young girl who wants to play and her chances of getting back are as strong as she is.

“Our team practices start in less than two weeks and I know that Dorothy wants to be there with the rest of her team. She is a hard worker and I would not be surprised to see her out there ready to play on the first day of practice,” Harris said.