Cleared to play
Throughout Berlin’s recovery, she was fortunate to be with a soccer club that held her spot open. “Berlin’s coach was really great about everything,” Miranda said. “She went to practices and supported the team at home games. They encouraged her to take her time to get healthy.”
Miranda said even though they made the drive from their Olathe home to Village West for months, it was well worth it.
“Everything went very smoothly, no bumps or hiccups,” Miranda said. “Dr. Latz did a wonderful job with her surgery, and he and Nicole worked together to help Berlin recover. The care has been very personal.
“Plus, it was fun for her to get to work out in a place that was created just for this purpose. Everything she did pointed back to achieving strength, balance and control. It felt like she was making progress all along the way.”
“At first, I had some self-doubt. I was so young to have surgery, but there was never any question of whether I would do it or not. I would never quit soccer, and Dr. Latz and Nicole understood that,” Berlin said. “Now I feel good. I don’t feel like my knee is ‘broken’ anymore.”
Nicole believes Berlin has become stronger and more confident throughout the recovery process, too. “She’s in a wonderful place right now,” Nicole said. “I admire Berlin’s tenacity and how she pushed herself.
“I’m the guide who provided the tools, but Berlin is the one who really used them, and because of that, she’s going to thrive and flourish,” Nicole said. “I thoroughly enjoyed my time with her and I’m so glad we crossed paths. Hopefully, this experience has helped her grow emotionally and physically. I think she will come back a stronger, better athlete. She’s done an amazing job!”
And she has! After Berlin was cleared to return to sport in March 2020, she had the opportunity to play in four games before the COVID-19 pandemic shut the league down. Throughout the stay-at-home orders, she continued to participate in twice-a-week Zoom trainings with her team. They finished their season online, then she tried out and was selected to rejoin the top 2006 girls ECNL team.
“This has been a huge learning experience for me,” Berlin said. “I’ve learned a lot of patience, definitely perseverance. Right after surgery, I wasn’t sure where I would be in six months, but there was never a moment when I wanted to give up. When Nicole let me start doing soccer drills, running and shooting, I felt really strong.”
“Berlin will get to play again,” Miranda said. “That was her goal all along. We are extremely blessed and thankful. And though she will be wearing her leg brace until March 2021, she feels good and is running now to prepare for the fall 2020 season.”
“I’ve grown throughout therapy,” Berlin said. “I don’t want to be the same player I was when this started. I want to be better. Thanks to Children’s Mercy, I think I will be.”