The French term deja vu is defined as “already seen.” When experiencing deja vu, it is often hard for people to distinguish whether what they are seeing has already happened or if it is current reality.
An exact year after tearing her left anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), what Montclair State softball member and sophomore business administration major Elena Radesich thought was a bad case of deja vu on the field, instead turned out to be a horrible reality.
Radesich suffered the gruesome injury during one of the most heated games on the Red Hawks’ schedule. The swampy and muddy mush of the diamond at Ramapo College did not help the conditions of the game. This may have been a contribution toward the season-ending crash Radesich took at third base.
As a freshman, Radesich did not expect to have a starting position at the hot corner. Her major setback was that she was unable to participate in the fall season because she was still recovering from her torn ACL in her left knee.
However, when spring training surfaced, Radesich was given the opportunity to showcase her offensive and defensive skills on the field. After succeeding and meshing well with the infield squad, the freshman was awarded third base for the season.
“I had delayed opportunities, Radesich said. “I didn’t think I would start because many other girls were fighting for third base.”
Radesich’s first ACL tear occurred on April 22, 2016. It was the second game of the season during her senior year at Valhalla High School. The humble stud led the softball team her entire career and batted at a powerhouse third position in the lineup.
In the bottom of the first inning, Radesich dug her petite feet in the batter’s box and waited for a pitch to skyrocket into the outfield. After connecting with a tough screw ball, the ball dribbled off of the butt of the bat. She raced like a mustang down the first-base line but instead of beating out the dribbler, she collided full force with the first baseman.
After the thunderous blow, Radesich was cemented with her face down in the sandy pebbles because of excruciating pain in her knee and the inability to move. She was immediately transported from the field in a golf kart to the nearest Urgent Care.
The youngest triplet was lucky enough to have her older brother Kristofer at the game. He instantly called their parents Sabi and Roxann and their brother Vincent to meet at the medical center.
“I knew something was wrong the minute I watched her drop,” Kristofer Radesich. “She never complains about pain so I had to stay calm on the outside.”
After enduring a long day of several different diagnoses, Radesich was finally told by doctors the worst case scenario. She had torn her ACL in her left knee and on May 4, she went into surgery.
A year later on May 2, 2017, the softball star shared another injury anniversary and tore her ACL for the second time, instead in her right knee.
This time, the damage took place at the top of the ninth inning with a pressured 2-2 tied score. Radesich cleared a clean single through the infield and stole second base after a passed ball.
A pitch later, the Red Hawks blasted a fiery shot to left field, and the freshman was waved by her head coach to home plate. After rounding third base, her metal cleat locked with the lip of the bag, and she took an earth shattering smack with the ground.
“I felt my knee pop and just knew,” Radesich said. “Even though my mom told me to think positive, I knew it was my ACL.”
After seeing doctors at the training room in Panzer Athletic Center, she was informed that it was an ACL tear in her right knee. Within the next two weeks, Elena went into another surgery on May 19.
To start the new 2018 year fresh, Radesich was finally cleared to play Jan. 1. After suffering back to back season ending injuries, how does an athlete still stay dedicated?
Having a supportive family is a huge factor. Her mother Roxann provided her daughter with endless cheesy baked ziti and positivity throughout the extensive cycle of both ACL tears.
“When we heard ACL, I thought, ‘Oh no not again,’ but it’s fixable,” said Roxann Radesich, mother of three. “You have to pray for those who have illnesses/injuries that are not fixable.”
Her daughter is more than ready to strengthen her body and get back to diving on the dirty diamond. The talented stud ended her freshman season with 32 hits, two home runs, 29 runs batted in and a .947 fielding percentage.
“I am a little cautious for season because of my injuries,” Radesich said. “But I will still give it 110 and work hard to earn my spot again.”