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Student Life

USF student’s ambitions intact after shattering knee

Torn anterior cruciate ligament, medial collateral ligament, patella tendon and shattered kneecap were injuries that Cierra Long suffered while playing a pickup game of basketball.

Believe it or not, this freak accident happened due to an untied shoelace. “My parents always told me to tie my shoes. I never thought that anything would come from not tying them,” said Long.

With nothing to do, Long and some of the neighborhood girls took to a game of basketball in the driveway. As she was going up for a routine lay-up, she stepped with her right foot onto her left shoelace, and subsequently tore her ACL, MCL and patella tendon. All of her body weight came crashing down on her knee, completely shattering the bone.

“At first I was shocked, then I was scared.  I was thinking, oh, my God, they are going to have to amputate my leg. It was just hanging there. My dreams were taken away from me, just like that,” said Long.

She had a full scholarship from the University of North Carolina for volleyball. Within two weeks of hearing about her injury, the university decided to take back her scholarship.

Because she is nearly six feet tall, Long had the height to be a dominant volleyball player. She was in the top 10 in kills in the state during her junior year.

She now sports an inch long scar on her right knee. “My knee has never fully recovered,” Long said. It has been nearly five years since she has played a game.

Throughout the years Long has tried to maintain a positive attitude. She now lives by the saying she has tattooed on her shoulder blade, “Everything happens for a reason, I am right where God wants me to be.”

“I wasn’t supposed to go to UNC I guess, but now I am at USF and couldn’t be any happier.”

About Dominique Lewis

My name is Dominique Lewis. I am 22 years old. and a Senior at University of South Florida studying Public Relations. My likes include sports, music , and traveling. I am military brat, I lived in Germany for most of my life and cant wait to go back. I am also fluent in German. I can't wait to get my career started.


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