Cheryl Hayes is cheering on her Midwest squad from the sidelines this weekend in Surprise, Ariz.
© Gregory Shamus
By J. Fred Sidhu, special to USTA.com
SURPRISE, Ariz. – After winning the USTA League Midwest Sectional Adult 55 & Over 6.0 title last September, Cheryl Hayes of Okemos, Mich., eagerly looked forward to playing with her team at this weekend’s USTA League 55 & Over National Championships.
Hayes, a retired Human Resources manager, picked up tennis in 2006 following a 20-year plus hiatus. She began playing on a USTA League team in 2009 and was set to play in a national championship for the first time.
But everything changed last month. On the morning of March 11, Hayes was practicing with a coach at the Court One Athletic Club in Okemos, where her team is based. While working on her net game, the right-handed Hayes hit a high backhand volley and, on the follow-through, lost her balance and fell to the court, landing hard on her left hand.
After she got up, Hayes was unable to move the fingers on her left hand. Later, when her teammates arrived for a scheduled team practice, they told her she should have her wrist X-rayed.
Following an X-ray and a consultation with the doctor, Hayes learned the extent of her injury. “I knew it was bad news,” she said. Hayes suffered a fractured wrist and would need to have her lower arm and wrist placed in a cast.
“My first reaction after breaking my wrist – I was embarrassed I fell down on the court,” Hayes said. “I wanted to stay in bed and cry for eight weeks, but I thought that was probably not a good idea. For the first couple of weeks, I really hated watching people practice.”
Eventually a friend convinced Hayes to come out and watch her play, and Hayes became comfortable with the idea of watching her teammates play as well as giving them pointers and lending support.
Since suffering her injury, Hayes has had weekly X-rays so doctors can make sure the fracture is setting correctly. Initially her doctor did not want her to make the trip this weekend for Nationals, but he eventually relented – with the advice to be very careful.
Despite not being able to play, Hayes is glad she accompanied her team to the Surprise Tennis & Racquet Complex.
“I could not imagine not coming and just sitting at home wondering what was going on,” she said. “Here I can see what’s going on, pat people on the back and give words of encouragement. It’s still pretty devastating that I’m not able to play, but it’s great to be able to be here with the team.”
Hayes will go in for another X-ray as soon as she returns home and hopes to have a smaller cast put on her wrist as she continues her recovery, which will take approximately eight weeks.
She is already planning a comeback and will continue to play USTA League tennis as she sets her sights on a return trip to the League National Championships – next time, though, she plans to play.
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