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Driven



Published: Thu, July 5, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Lynsey Elmo has made a strong comeback from a horseback-riding accident to play softball again.

By JOHN KOVACH

VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF

BOARDMAN -- Last August, Lynsey Elmo suffered a crushed pelvis and spine while horseback riding just prior to her freshman year at Boardman High.

She underwent surgery and was confined to a wheelchair.

Almost 11 months later, the resilient 15-year-old sophomore-to-be has returned to playing softball in her first season with the Ohio Stars 16-and-under traveling team, and completely recovered from the serious injuries.

She lists as the reasons for such a quick and strong comeback: Her faith, support from family and friends, a positive attitude and swimming.

"I would say attitude was definitely a big part, and also knowing that freak things happen all the time, so never take anything for granted," said Elmo, who offered the following advice to anyone riding horses: "Just be careful and know that the horse has a mind of his own, and try to go riding with somebody."

Ordeal: Here's what happened to her last Aug. 26 after completing her ninth season of softball and her second year with the Boardman Magic team after a long stint in the Boardman Little League.

"[I was at] my dad's neighbor's house and they had horses and I was out there riding," Elmo said. "That was only my third time riding. I was riding with one of the guys who used to take care of the horses.

"I was jumping over logs and [the horse] just reared back and jumped on me," she explained.

"I crushed my pelvis in four places and my spine in one. I have a plate and six screws in me. I was in the hospital for about two weeks and in a wheelchair for two months. I got out of the wheelchair the end of October."

Swimming: Then she got on crutches and began swimming.

"I would swim three times a week. I just did a lot of swimming until everything healed together. It made my whole body stronger," said Elmo, who didn't need the crutches very long.

"I was supposed to be on them 4-to-6 weeks. I really didn't use them as much as I should have. I probably only used them 3 1/2 or 4 weeks, and then I just started walking on my own."

Elmo tried to run in March.

"I would just try to run on my own to see if I could do it. I actually didn't run too much. I'm not a big runner. I just don't run," she said.

But overall, "There wasn't a lot of rehabilitation, not as much as I thought there would be."

She said her comeback goal was "to have a rehabilitation program that wouldn't re-injure [the healing parts] but build up the body."

Missed tryout: And it succeeded, but not in time for her to try out for the Boardman High softball team, which went on to win the Division I state championship.

"It was about three weeks into the high school season when I was allowed to play, but it already was too late to try out for the high school team," Elmo said.

So she waited to play for the Canfield-based Ohio Stars.

"I began practicing with the Ohio Stars in early June," said Elmo, who plays left field and right field for the team, coached by Bill Garrett.

And, "I'm doing well." In fact, "I'm 100 percent better. I feel wonderful. My injury doesn't bother me."

This weekend, the Stars will be one of several area traveling teams competing in the NSA state tournament in Columbus.

Looks to future: Elmo is hoping to continue her comeback this coming school year with the Boardman High tennis and softball teams.

She said her grades are "decent" and already has some idea of her career interests.

"I would like to go into the medical field or culinary school," said Lynsey, the daughter of Robin and Tony Elmo who has two brothers, T.J. (26) and Nick (10), and one sister, Kristy (25).




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