Photo and story by Mirracle Caston

The soccer game was in Pearl, Miss., last season on Jan. 29. Starlette Simmons arrived as the players were getting ready to get on the field. “Wassup, everybody?” Simmons asked as Coach Dante Knight put everybody into their positions before the game started. Simmons was playing the forward position in the game.

Moments later, as Simmons was running down the field with the ball, she went through three defenders

“I can make it,” she said to herself as she tried to score a goal for her team. The goalie came out of the 18 trying to take the ball right from under her feet. Simmons figured she could make it and yelled, “I got it,” then kicked the ball to the opposite side of her leg.

Suddenly, the goalie dived for the soccer ball. Simmons heard a “pop,” and it scared her. She didn’t know what to do, and she blacked out, later waking up to find herself lying in a bed of ice.

“What happened?” she asked.

When Simmons looked down and saw her knee out of place, she couldn’t believe her eyes. Simmons was in total shock.

“Not again,” she mumbled as the medical staff shortly popped it back in place.  But something still wasn’t right as she soon started to feel intense pain.

Later, Simmons went to the doctor to get tests done, where she was told her ACL was torn and she needed surgery. For two weeks, she used crutches and wore a brace on her knee. She had to get seven MRIs done and have a couple of X-rays. Her knee was swollen, and she could not walk correctly, nor could she play soccer again.

“I was scared because I didn’t know how much this accident could change my life,” she said. It hurt her feelings so badly that she wanted to cry, because she could no longer play what she enjoyed most. Simmons began going to physical therapy three times a week for her knee, and is still going to this day.

Simmons says therapy is “rigorous” and “extreme.” But finally, she could walk on her own without crutches. Still now, Simmons does not play soccer, but she is still in school and focusing on the important things in life.

Simmons, 17, is a honor student and a senior at Jim Hill High School. She plays the clarinet in band. Simmons has big dreams ahead of her, hoping to become a pharmacist. Simmons is in YMP because she wants to explore the field of journalism, and wants to learn more about photography and music.