CAMDEN — Shelbie Brown wasn’t going to let a major knee injury stop her from pursuing her dream of playing college basketball.
The recent Preble Shawnee graduate, who missed most of two seasons, will play next season at Penn State-Fayette.
“I’m a Penn State fan. I went there around midseason to visit and I just fell in love with the campus. It’s small but not too big. I automatically had a bond with the coaches and love the girls on the team and I just feel like I’m going to be a really good fit there,” she said.
She said the recruiting process began late her junior year.
“We actually started late with the process of recruiting because of my injuries my sophomore and freshman year, so it all started basically at the end of junior year,” Brown said. “They started hammering me, wanting to know if I can come visit and all this good stuff. I had five different offers and I boiled it down to two and I picked Penn State.”
Brown, who plans to major in nursing, was told she would never play the game again after suffering a second injury her sophomore year.
“It’s definitely rewarding and I’m blessed and very humbled and I give God all the glory for that. You know, it was really hard. Last year I got told that I would never be able to play basketball again, by my doctor, due to my knee injuries, and I just knew that wasn’t the end of my road because I love basketball so much. It’s always been my number one sport. So, we got a second opinion and he basically was like, you don’t need the surgery, you just need therapy,” she said. “It was definitely hard watching on the sideline and watching my teams, you know, because I knew that I could be doing that, but I was there to support them 100 percent because no matter what, they’re my teammates.”
She said getting the news she could play again was rewarding.
“Being able to get the all-clear and saying I could play my senior year that was just the most rewarding thing ever,” Brown said. “And to know that all my hard work is being put to good use and now that I’ve signed, it’s all worth it and it’s going to be okay.”
The recovery process was long.
“I tore my ACL and meniscus at the end of eighth grade. It was a year of recovery and it was really bad. I mean, I blew my knee out, it was really bad. And then I had to recover for a year, so I got to play a little bit at the end of my freshman year, but obviously not competitively because I didn’t want to damage it. So as sophomore I played my full year, and then last year it started to hurt,” Brown said. “We were actually scrimmaging at Eaton and my knee just kept buckling up. So I had to keep getting fluid drawn off it every week, and things like that. And then finally she was like, ‘we just need to go in and get a scope done to see what is really going on.’ And she found out that I’m missing cartilage and that my bones were rubbing together. So, it was kinda hard, but I knew that wasn’t the end.”
Brown said her parents are her biggest supporters.
“Both of my parents are my biggest supporters — and honestly, through this year, they’re the only ones who have supported me, especially to get where I’m at now with the college and playing college basketball. I wouldn’t have been able to do it if it wasn’t for them,” she said.
Shawnee coach Kevin Schaeffer said Brown was “trooper” for sticking with the game after her injuries.
“You get kids that enjoy basketball in high school and move on and get a chance to do that at the next level. That’s good. I wish every one of my kids ended up doing that. Hopefully that’s a sign that they enjoyed their time enough in high school and felt successful enough in high school that they want to pursue that at the next level,” he said.
“Her junior year she was a trooper, man. She was really banged up and we’d use JV as a as a way to get her some minutes, to see how she was going to feel, and she did well there. Then as the year went on, got some more time at the varsity level. She works hard, she’s a good spirit, she’s fun to be around — obviously loves the game more than anything else I can imagine.”
Penn State-Fayette plays in the Penn State University Athletic Conference and is a member of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH