By Megan Flint
Photos by Kurt Johnson
After playing softball for 10 years, Herriman High’s Lauren Tycksen now sits out her senior year due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Tycksen was injured after participating in Herriman’s annual powder puff football competition, only weeks after accepting an athletic scholarship from Weber State University. Weber State then withdrew the scholarship a week after learning that the extent of her injuries required surgery.
The Mustang outfielder recalls her initial reaction when she learned she lost her scholarship.
“I was devastated,” Tycksen said. “I played softball my whole life and I was given the chance to keep playing, but a meaningless flag football game took that away from me.”
Missing her senior year of softball with all her close teammates was also a shock to Tycksen. Although that part of dealing with her injury was hard, she had a longer road of recovery to overcome.
Tycksen had her first surgery in early October 2015, which was followed by two months of physical therapy, twice a week. In December, Tycksen had her last surgery, requiring physical therapy every day for two weeks and Tycksen had to be out on a steroid for that time period.
“It’s a long process,” Tycksen said. “I’m trying to learn how to do basic things on my own again, and hopefully get back onto softball.”
“She didn’t even ask me to sign right away, she just wanted to see how I was doing because as a fellow athlete, she knew how hard this was for me,” Tycksen said.
Later though, Tycksen was offered a spot on the SLCC softball team as a center fielder. Many of Tycksen’s friends and teammates recently signed with the SLCC Bruins as a part of their softball program, and Tycksen was eager to join them. Friends have been her main support system during her recovery.
“I don’t know where I would be without them,” Tycksen said. “They are constantly pushing me to work harder to recover. Sometimes it gets annoying, but I love them for it.”
One teammate in particular comes to mind when Tycksen talks about her support. Her friend Leia Lapuaho tore her ACL around the same time as Tycksen during a basketball game and because of their similar injuries, they were able to push each other and recover together.
“Lauren and I were together all the time since both of our injuries overlapped. I’ve been there for her, and she’s been there for me,” Lapuaho said.
“I guess it was nice being able to talk to someone who understands exactly what you’re going through,” Tycksen added.
The softball coaches at Herriman have always been there for Tycksen as well.
“(Lauren) comes to every practice, every game, ready to be a part of the team even though she can’t play yet,” said varsity softball coach Heidi McKissick. “She’s worked so hard to be where she’s at, and she deserves the chance to play again.”
Tycksen believes that by the time playoffs come around, that she will be able to play again.
“I’ve been working my butt off to recover for seven months already,” she said. “I think it’s about time I get back out there.”
Herriman High senior Megan Flint wrote this story as part of the Preps Utah student journalism program, powered by Bank of American Fork, which will award two of our published student journalists college scholarships at the end of the school year.