Motivated Athletes Part One: Judy Wagemaker

Wagemaker Suffered 2 Severe Injuries In H.S. Basketball Career

Judy Wagemaker jumped in to her high school basketball career with a splash.

“As a freshman she had a fantastic season. I think she was our leading scorer as a ninth grader, we took third in state tournament that year,” Wagemaker’s Basketball coach Scott Antonutti.

Wagemaker’s tenth grade season is when things took a turn for the worse.

“So we were practicing and I was going up for a layup and I guess I got hit in the back of the head or something. I don’t really remember. I continued to practice for the rest of practice. Then I went home and I just didn’t feel right, went to get checked out and sure enough it was a concussion,” said Wagemaker.

It would be a grueling process for Wagemaker to come back not only to basketball but to school.

“I continued to try to get better but it got worse and i had kind of a downfall again. That was really tough; it’s hard not seeing my friends, being at school,” said Wagemaker.

Judy would come back, though.

“I was nervous, but it never really crossed my mind to not play basketball. It was just like I am going to get better I am going to come back and play,”said Wagemaker.

Unfortunately, this wouldn’t be Wagemaker’s last run in with injury.

“This last summer in July, end of July I ended up tearing my ACL,” said Wagemaker.

Just like the last, Wagemaker didn’t let this injury keep her down.

“She’s been pretty positive. I suppose having good close friends, but i think that’s just part of her make–up is that she’s a hard working kid and is always positive,” said Antonutti.

Wagemaker doesn’t take all the credit for her positive attitude.

“I mean my family and friends have really been there for me, continually supported me to just continue to be the best that i can be and not give up,” said Wagemaker. 

Wagemaker’s sights are set on being the best she can be for her senior year now.

“That is the ultimate goal coming back for my senior year but i have to keep in mind the risks that come from that too. I can’t rush or anything I have to be fully prepared to come back and there is that fear of getting injured again. You just have to make sure you’re ready,” said Wagemaker.

To get ready for next year, Wagemaker continues with her rehab.

“I mean I’m not at the end of my rehab time at all, I’m six months will be on the ninth, so it’s a six to nine months sort of deal. I can’t really say whats going to happen it all depends on how i heal up and continuing that rehab is going to be a big deal,” said Wagemaker.

A slow but inspiring process for her teammates.

“She shows up and shes been able to run around now a little bit and do a little shooting. I think that’s fantastic for not just her but for her teammates to see how much time she’s put in, that she’s still committed to the team and being here when she can be,” said Antonutti.

No matter the injuries Wagemaker commitment to sports has never wavered and her time off the court has just increased her drive to play.

“Given this injury i have realized how much I truly have a passion for both sports. Not playing them, it’s hard it really is. It just makes you appreciate the little things that you get out of it when you get to play,” said Wagemaker.

And reminded her why she loves the game.

“The teamwork and the perseverance and the competitiveness. I’ve realized i’m a really competitive person just sitting on the bench and stuff I’m constantly cheering my team on and my drive has increased i guess you could stay,” said Wagemaker.

Some would’ve walked away from sports after suffering a second severe injury but Wagemaker chooses to come back because playing and being on the court gives her more than just injuries.

“Mentally, I have become very strong I believe. I’ve gone through a lot of things that most kids don’t go through and i consider it like a blessing in a way,” said Wagemaker.

All of that is worth it to Wagemaker.

“There’s that constant fear, I’ve had so many injuries that something else could happen, but you can’t live with that fear you just have to come back,” said Wagemaker.

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