Northern Star: Hanna Hovland
For this week's segment, we feature a Duluth Denfeld softball player who went through 15 weeks of physical therapy after breaking her femur just to play her senior season.
DULUTH, Minn. – Duluth Denfeld’s Hanna Hovland was looking forward to her senior softball season. That was until the day after this past Christmas, when Hovland broke her femur in a skiing accident.
“It was devastating like Hanna was going to be our starting shortstop. Didn’t even know if she’d be able to come back so it’s just been a roller coaster in that way,” head coach Nikki Jensen said.
Hovland started physical therapy as soon as she could, just working on basic movements again.
“I go into the clinic twice a week and I just started that two weeks ago so it’s kind of been a long haul just to get to the walking point. Then once I got there I was able to start strengthening my other muscle groups,” Hovland said.
Then Hovland increased the intensity and started doing what she could to incorporate softball movements into physical therapy. Although she knew it would be difficult, Hovland also knew she wanted to return to the diamond this spring.
“It’s such a big bone to break and such a long recovery but all of my surgeons and sports teams have helped me get back and they said I’m moving faster. So I reached out to my teammates and coaches and told them that I’ll be good and everyone was just kind of surprised knowing that I wasn’t able to walk a few months ago,” Hovland said.
“I was getting pretty regular updates and so I’ve been along for the journey since day one. She just continuously amazes me. In my mind there was no way she was coming back this season so you kept hearing it and didn’t want to get your hopes up. Having her put in the extra time in the weight room, put in the extra time stretching and in PT and proving that she can,” Jensen added.
Hovland is a UMD softball commit and said her new team has also helped support her throughout this recovery process.
“I’ve talked to my coach Lynn [Anderson] quite often and I’ve been going to a lot of their games and interacting with them which is really fun. They’ve given me security in knowing that I’ll play next year and that my recovery will go good,” Hovland said.
Hovland isn’t at 100 percent just yet and has had to make some small adjustments to her game, but just being back out there for her senior year and playing in their first game on Saturday is something for Hovland to smile about.
“She eats, sleeps, breathes softball, this is her happy place. We get to keep her bat in the lineup which is awesome, we get to keep her leadership in the infield, we get to reap the benefit of her knowledge of the game and it’s going to help us and she’s going to get to play her senior year,” Jensen said.
“I was so determined to just be ready for the first game and I think I am, I know I am actually. To be on this team for six years now is pretty incredible and the fact that I get to play my senior year is just really incredible,” Hovland added.