Toughness follows Dressel
Feb. 16, 2006
BELLINGHAM, Wash. -
JOE SUNNEN, THE BELLINGHAM HERALD
Toughness and Western Washington senior Stephanie Dressel never seem to be far apart.
There was the gash above her eye from an elbow that required seven stitches to close earlier in the season - she handled that without a wince.
There's the torn anterior cruciate ligament in her knee she's opted to play on rather than have surgery - no way she will miss the rest of her senior season if she can help it.
And then there is her passion for riding dirt bikes - if that doesn't scream tough then what does?
So when Dressel says she's going to play again this season despite the knee injury, it's hard not to believe her.
"I guess I just have a high threshold for pain," Dressel said.
Dressel was medically cleared to play again on Wednesday and has been doing light practice work with the team for a few days. She'll likely get in for a couple of minutes against Central Washington in Ellensburg on Saturday.
It's a bold move for someone that could do further damage to her already injured knee, but it's a risk she's willing to take.
"I just want to get out there for a little bit," Dressel said. "Sitting out made me realize how much a love this game. There are some drills I watch the team do and all I want is to be out there with them. I never thought it would get to the point that I would miss practice."
Dressel hurt her knee in practice in early January in a non-contact drill. Since then has been undergoing physical therapy to strengthen the knee.
"It feels pretty good, pretty stable," Dressel said. "I tweaked it a little bit at practice earlier in the week, but it feels good now."
"A lot of people on our team have had an ACL injury," Dressel said. "It was just a freak thing when it happened to me."
KOENEN HELPS OUT VIKINGS WOMEN'S TEAM
The Western women's team has been getting some help at practice from a familiar face to Vikings sports fans. Former Vikings football standout and current Atlanta Falcons punter and kick-off specialist Michael Koenen has been working with the team as a scout team point guard.
"He's really helped us," WWU coach Carmen Dolfo said.
Koenen, from Ferndale, has been practicing with the team for a few weeks now.
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