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ND Women’s Soccer: Rosen forced to sit out most of senior season

Joe Meixell | Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Courtney Rosen earned second team All-Big East honors last fall, but this year the senior captain has yet to set foot on the field during a game.

Rosen was named a captain long before the season started, along with fellow senior Michele Weissenhofer and sophomore Courtney Barg. Before Rosen could lead the Irish onto the field, she broke her left foot, her fourth broken foot in the past five years.

“I had run over to get something from the locker room during practice,” Rosen said. “I was running back to the fields and it simply gave out.”

The players immediately feared the worst. Their fears were soon confirmed by x-rays at the hospital.

“It was like a death in the family when she broke her foot,” Weissenhofer said. “That just shows how big of a part of the team she is.”

It turned out that Rosen had unknowingly been playing with a stress fracture in her foot, a symptom she has grown used to over the years of injuries.

She first broke her right foot her senior year in high school. Doctors placed a screw in the foot, and preached caution in the future. Rosen then reinjured the foot in her freshman and sophomore years at Notre Dame. She played through most of the pain with the Irish, missing a total of only eight games.

“I have constantly had issues with stress fractures, but since I had a screw in that foot, I have played through it being broken and with stress fractures because that screw holds it together,” Rosen said. “My right foot has always been my biggest worry, and now my left foot is the one broken.”

A week after this August’s injury, doctors operated on Rosen’s foot. Rosen has been limited to crutches since then, not allowed to put any weight on the foot, and she will continue as such for another month. At that point, eight weeks removed from the surgery, she will slowly ease weight back onto the foot, in hopes of possibly taking the field her senior year.

In Rosen’s absence, Notre Dame has opened the season less impressively than expected; currently the team’s record stands at 3-3.

“I can’t even begin to say how big of a loss [Rosen] is,” Irish coach Randy Waldrum said. “Her loss to us was a huge blow this year.”

The loss of Rosen has been compounded as Weissenhofer has battled hamstring issues all season long. Weissenhofer was limited to seven minutes of playing time against Santa Clara in Notre Dame’s 2-0 defeat Friday.

“Losing those two has really hurt us because they give the team a lift when they are on the field, and we are struggling with that right now,” Waldrum said.

As the team has struggled, Rosen has done her best to remain upbeat on the bench, the last spot she saw herself spending the majority of this season.

“I have accepted the fact that I have to take on a completely different role with the team,” Rosen said. “I try to be as positive as I can and provide the players with feedback as they come off the field. I try to be as helpful as possible, even though it is hard to sit and watch practice and the games.”

Waldrum said he expects Weissenhofer to be off the bench and on the field again this season, but Rosen’s fate is very much up in the air. Doctors hope she will be able to play at the time playoffs begin. If that is the case, Rosen will have to choose between playing in the most critical games of the season or applying for a medical redshirt and coming back next season.

“Courtney and I have spoken about it briefly,” Waldrum said. “The good thing about it is she does not have to make her decision today or next week. She has time to sort through that.”

Waldrum did not keep his preference quiet though.

“Selfishly I would like to have her back next year for a full year, but at the same time if she decided to come back for the last month of the season, we would certainly welcome that,” he said.