Longhorns spotlight: Erika Arriaran
Nov. 22, 2008
by Andy Ortegon, Texas Media Relations
Arriaran has spent the greater part of her underclassmen seasons watching her teammates from the sidelines due to a torn ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament). But rather than crushing her spirits, she claims it has tested her and taught her a great deal about herself, and this season she will return stronger than she ever imagined she could be.
"Terry and I have basically become best buds throughout this whole thing. We have had to see each other every day. Constantly having to be together, even if we got sick of each other," she said with a laugh. "We had to work for it and she pushed me everyday to keep going, she stuck it out with me through all the recovery, through all the rehab no matter how boring it was, and I honestly owe a great deal of my success to her."
Both Arriaran's and Furuta's perseverance paid off. While most who suffer from a torn ACL never quite feel completely back to normal, she claims to have even surpassed where she was before.
"I honestly don't even think about my knee unless somebody asks me about it. I don't have to ice it, it doesn't flair up. I know that people say that after a surgery like mine that I'll only ever be 99% back and that I will never be as good as I once was. But the truth is I actually think I have more confidence in my injured knee than in my other one now," Arriaran added.
Recovering wasn't the only worry to Arriaran's game this season. Even when it neared time for her return to the court, there was still the ever-lingering question of whether she would be able to mesh again with a team that she had only been able to support from the bench for the last couple of years. This however, was the least of worries for her and the team.
"It was like I never really left. Coach G has always been there for me, just as she is for all of us. And the team never really treated me like I wasn't one of them at all. We are all really close and Coach found a way to include me, even if that just meant I would only be able to pass the ball around. She kept me active with everyone else, and though at times she was cautious of how to implement me, she never held me out. So this summer, when I was really able to start getting back into it all again, it felt as though I had never really left. I could just run a little faster now," Arriaran added while grinning.
Over the last couple of weeks, Arriaran has lived up to her claims. On the court she has made her presence known, finishing last Sunday's contest against Saint Mary's as the game's high scorer with 23 points. Now she is setting her sights on greatness that exceeds her personal achievement.
"I don't want people to think that success for me this season will simply mean me playing with no injury. I don't want to ever make any excuses due to my knee. In fact, I don't want it to even be an issue. For me, looking back I feel the last two years here have been an unfortunate waste. I've wasted my time and more importantly, I've wasted my team's time. Sitting out this long has shown me that I can't afford to lose any more time. I need to step it up even more now because I only have two seasons left. Success this year for me is playing 100% every game for my team and for them to know that I am going to be there for them all the way through," Arriaran concluded confidently.