A routine day at gymnastics practice turned to disaster for Nina Kropiwiec as she stepped up to do her bar routine. After landing a double back off the bars, Kropiwiec felt an “odd” pressure on one ankle.
Kropiwiec ended up doing more damage than she had anticipated. She had received a Salter-Harris fracture, type three on a 1-5 scale. This means that the fracture of the bone was from the bottom of her foot, through the growth plate, and almost through the top of her bone.
The fractured part, or the fragment, was three mm away from the the tibia, so she would need to have the fragment screwed back in order for it to heal.
Kropiwiec knew recovery would be a long process, and that it would be a long time before she could get back into the sport she loves.
“It took me a long time to be able to be fully back into the sport, and doing all the skills I could do previous to the injury,” Kropiwiec said. “It took almost six months to finally be cleared by the doctors.”
“When I heard the words from my doctor that I could go back to doing gymnastics after surgery, all I thought about was getting stronger and to come back and do better than before.”
What really helped Kropiwiec to persevere and make a full comeback was inspiration from her sister, junior Isabella Kropiwiec.
In fact, it was watching how Isabella worked with the Carmel team that made Nina want to join and perform well for the team, too.
“I watched my sister her freshman and sophomore year,” Kropiwiec said. “Competing in the sport for high school, I saw her connect and bond with the team, and I saw how it had changed a part of her that I can not put into words. I’m so excited to experience that with her, too.”
Isabella’s view on the subject is that helping Kropiwiec is just second nature. Giving her tough love and pushing her past her limits really helps her sister to come through.
“Being Nina’s sister, I can be harder on her sometimes,” Isabella said, “But it’s that tough love that sometimes helps push her to overcome things like bad days, and other daily struggles.”
Kropiwiec is ready for the season to start so she can finally show off the skills she has had to hold back.
“I have been making really good progress these last four months,” Kropiwiec said. “Gaining the strength back into my leg was just a part of my journey.”
I saw her connect and bond with the team, and I saw how it had changed a part of her that I can not put into words.
“In high school, I am excited to experience something new and to bond with the team, and to get back into to doing what I love the most.”