Stroud remains vital part of team despite injury

Cheyenne Fitzgerald, Features Writer

Junior Emily Stroud has taken on a new role with the Eastern women's swimming team. An injury has forced her to step into a supportive role for her teammates during her recovery.
Cheyenne Fitzgerald
Junior Emily Stroud has taken on a new role with the Eastern women’s swimming team. An injury has forced her to step into a supportive role for her teammates during her recovery.

An injury that has been plaguing Emily Stroud for the last two and a half years has led her to begin filing the paperwork to redshirt this season.

Stroud, a transfer from the University of Findlay was competing as a freshman when the injury began.

What is now correctly diagnosed as severe fascia adhesions with thoracic outlet problems was first thought to be ribs out of place.

Eastern athletic trainer Tanner Krumwiede explained fascia adhesions.

“Fascia is a very strong fibrous connective tissue in your body that is under incredible tension,” he said. “Under a microscope, normal fascia appears as fibers all heading in the same direction. When there are adhesions, picture them as ‘knots’ in the fascia. The layers of collagen fibers are now not smooth and aligned evenly, they are knotted up and going in different directions.”

Stroud explained that the pool she was training in at the University of Findlay had poor air quality causing her body to recognize the chlorine as poison.

Her body reacted by developing a chronic and painful cough.

“I was coughing and as I twisted my body a little there was a pain, I was sent to a chiropractor the very next day,” Stroud said.

The chiropractor gave Stroud permission to swim as tolerable.

“Challenge accepted, as any passionate athlete would,” she said.

Four months of bearing the pain came to an end in Jan. 2015 when she stopped swimming to get a second opinion.

It was then Stroud and her family found out it was not ribs out of place, but her soft tissue causing the pain.

After discrepancies with handling her injury at the University of Findlay, Stroud transferred to Eastern to swim for coach Jacqueline Michalski who knew of her injury upon recruiting Stroud.

“We talked about her injury, it’s going to be a long process to get her back to where she needs to go and the biggest thing is patience and she’s been very patient with it,” Michalski said.

Fast-forward to present day and Stroud is finally taking a break to get a healing process going for her body.

While Stroud takes her redshirt year, Michalski has said Stroud helps the team by doing small things that usually go unnoticed such as inventory and handing out warm-ups.

“I’ve taken on more of a helpful role, I help my coach with a lot of things,” Stroud said. “I love that role, I love this team, and I’m not going anywhere.”

Though Stroud is not in the water for this year’s season, she hopes to come back strong for her senior year, as does Michalski.

“There is the hope that next year those adjustments, small muscles, ligaments, all of that are able to train and compete at the D1 level,” Michalski said.

Stroud has contemplated the option of a fifth year here at Eastern to fulfill all four years of eligibility, however, part of her doesn’t want to miss the opportunity of graduating with her class.

“In a certain aspect I feel like it is time to move on, but on the other hand I want to end swimming on my terms,” Stroud said.

Stroud went on to explain that her team means everything to her, whether she is in the water with them or helping them in other aspects.

“A lot of people who get injured, they just give up, they’re done, but she has not. She made the decision that she still wanted to be apart of this team, still help us succeed even if that means she’s not scoring us points,” Michalski said.

Stroud has some worries coming back off a break from swimming and injury as to whether or not she will be able to compete at the same level she used to.

Despite the worries, Stroud is prepared to take this challenge on as it comes to one-day compete in the 100 and 200 backstroke again next year.

“Great thing about swimming is you can always compare your self to your self and your times to last year pre injury so in swimming you can always self reflect upon where you are an see improvement,” said Coach Michalski.

Stroud has found herself diving more into her schoolwork with the extra time on her hands, working on her Public Relation major and Health Communication minor.

As busy as student-athlete lives are known to be, Stroud says she wants nothing more than to be there for her team just as she would if she were competing next to them.

“For her to still be so involved in this team even with her injury speaks volumes to who she is as a person and her commitment she has given to this team,” Michalski said.


Cheyenne Fitzgerald can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]