The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday December 7th

Injuries Fail To Sideline Tar Heels

But for some of the North Carolina field hockey players, that's just half of it.

Some have played with a torn ACL, a broken jaw and even the absence of a few front teeth without much complaint. This weekend was no exception.

Sophomore forward Kelsey Keeran was hit in the face by a ball at practice in August. The ball broke her jaw in three places, but she didn't stop after that.

"I can't stand sitting there, like the first week," Keeran said. "I wasn't allowed to do anything. I just had to sit there and watch my team while they practiced."

Playing with a protective face mask, Keeran got her first goal of the season against No. 2 Old Dominion on Saturday, a goal that turned out to be pivotal in the Tar Heels' 2-0 win.

"She had a big goal yesterday for us, and she's provided a little more depth for us on our front line," Shelton said. "I think she's still working on getting her touch back, and she's not 100 percent, but she's getting closer each game."

But Shelton said field hockey is not an inherently dangerous sport when it is played correctly.

"I do want to dispel the misconception that it's a super dangerous game," Shelton said. "It's not that dangerous when it's played at a high level, but they do take bumps and bruises, just like in any sport."

Midfielder Laura Douglas tore her ACL last year before she got to UNC and then played the entire season with only a knee brace to keep it in line.

"I tore my ACL before I got over here, and I kind of expected my coach to be like, 'Don't bother coming over, you have a torn ACL, you can't play,' but she said, 'Come over, and we'll deal with it over here,'" Douglas said. "I decided to play with it (torn), and I had to play with one of those braces and everything.

Douglas is not the only Tar Heel to play with a serious injury.

Carrie Lingo, who played midfield last year, was hit in the mouth by the ball and knew it had knocked her front teeth out. Instead of saying anything, she kept her mouth guard in and finished the game.

Shelton said, "I just think that field hockey players have to be tough. ... (Field hockey is) not for the faint of heart, it's not for the wussy girl; it's for the tough girl."

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