By Andy Warrener
The Laker/Lutz News Correspondent
Carrollwood Day School (CDS) sophomore tennis player Sarah Yaffe was unsure if she’d ever pick up a racket again last April because of the pain in her wrist.
The problem became apparent on her 15th birthday in November 2010 when she recalled her left wrist “kind of popped” and that it felt like “someone stabbed me with a knife.”
By February 2011 she decided to see a doctor, who suggested taking a break for two weeks followed by physical and localized massage therapy. When that didn’t work she tried different casts. Nothing helped.
The prognosis went from bad to worse when she was diagnosed with an elongated ulna, the outside bone in the forearm.
Yaffe’s ulna was crowding the small bones in her wrist, severely limiting her range of motion and causing pain for someone trying to play tennis. The only solution to continue her tennis career was surgery to shorten the bone, followed by a long recovery.
“(The doctor) said nine months recovery time and I just broke down, right there in his office,” Yaffe said. “I had to call all of my coaches and tell them I was going to get this surgery.”
Yaffe is accustomed to a busy tennis schedule. She transferred from Saddlebrook Prep in Wesley Chapel, where she practiced five days a week and had tournaments every weekend.
Yaffe was not quite ready to accept having no physical activity. She went to the gym diligently to try and maintain her strength and conditioning.
“I tried to run to the gym with a cast on my arm one time,” Yaffe said. “I guess someone must’ve seen me and called my parents. They drove out to get me and I kind of got in trouble.”
She had the surgery last June 13. In December, just six months after the surgery, she started to hit again with her coach. She was able to hit forehands with her right wrist as her left arm recovered.
She started playing again on February 9 against Academy at the Lakes. She said she is almost back physically.
“The mental part is still coming back to me,” Yaffe said. “That’s the hardest part.”
The experience is something she will never forget.
“I still have a metal plate and screws in my arm today, but it feels better now than it ever did,” Yaffe said.
Yaffe helped the Patriots win a district championship this season, the first in CDS history. The squad followed that with a regional title to reach the 1A state tournament.