Hubert senior recovers from knee injuries, has something to cheer about

Senior Gianna Roddy never let an injury hold her back from being involved on the team — even when it happened twice.

Gianna Roddy shows off St. Hubert’s Catholic League championship. The senior recovered from two torn ACL surgeries to win the Catholic League MVP this year. SUPPLIED PHOTO

Cheerleading has allowed Gianna Roddy to experience a lot of great things.

It’s also given her a few heartbreaking moments.

Roddy is a senior at St. Hubert High School, and like all of the Bambies, she had a great time when the team went to Orlando for the national championships. She’s been there when the team has won prestigious competitions and she’s been there as the team has had fun, both while competing and practicing together.

But twice during her time at the school, she had to recover from a major injury.

“I got hurt twice, I tore my ACL when I was a freshman and did it again when I was a junior,” Roddy said. “I did it the first time when I was tumbling. I didn’t know what happened, I landed OK, but I felt a pain. I didn’t know what happened, but it hurt a lot.

“I had my surgery, they took a piece of my hamstring and fixed it. I missed the rest of the season, but I was back for my sophomore year.”

Sophomore year was perfect. No injuries, no setbacks, just a year of health and success.

Then junior year rolled around.

“I did the same thing, same knee, and I was tumbling again,” said Roddy, who was doing a standing flip when the injury happened. “This time, I really didn’t think it was that bad. I was hoping it would get better, I thought it was just sore, but it didn’t get better. I eventually got it checked out and I had to have surgery again.

“This time, they took a piece from my patella tendon. I guess it’s stronger. I wasn’t too scared going back, I just did it. It feels fine now.”

The injuries did make for some memorable days, including last year when the team left for nationals shortly after Roddy had surgery. The team drove to Florida, and while most of the girls were on a bus, Roddy sat in the back of a teammate’s car with her leg propped up on the seat.

“I was back there the whole way,” Roddy said. “And when we got to Disney, I had to be pushed in a wheelchair the whole time.”

This year, there was no pushing Roddy around. But she did push herself to be one of the best cheerleaders in the area. In fact, she was named the MVP of the Catholic League competition.

And while that was fun it’s not what meant the most to her this year.

“Cheerleading is great, but I love being around the team more than anything,” Roddy said. “They’re a second family. We’re all best friends. Cheering here is everything to me.”

It almost didn’t happen.

When Roddy was going over her list of possible choices, St. Hubert wasn’t even an option.

Then she went to a cheerleading practice.

“I knew right after I walked out of it that I wanted to go there,” said Roddy, now a senior. “I loved it so much. Everything about it. It was just so much fun. I didn’t expect to fall in love with it right away, but I was so glad I went to check it out.

“When I was looking at schools, coach (Lisa McNesby) called my mom and told me I should go to a practice to see what it was like and I’m so glad I did. That’s the reason I came here.”

While Roddy owes a lot to her coaches, school and teammates, she is also quick to point out she has a lot of support from her two favorite fans.

“My mom and my grandfather are always there for me,” Roddy said. “Mostly my grandfather. I’m everything to him and (he’s everything to me). He always tells me I’m doing great. I don’t think he knows a lot about cheerleading, but he’s always there to watch me and to support me. My mom is, too.”

Next year, there’s a good chance they’ll continue to watch her cheer in college. And while she’s there, she’ll be learning how to help people in the same boat as she was during her high school days.

“I want to major in physical therapy and help people,” said Roddy, who has tabbed Penn State, Hofstra and Delaware as possible college choices. “If I can come back from it, anyone can. I did it twice. I think I could help people by telling them about (her experience).

“I want to go to a school where I can cheer and study physical therapy. It would be tough because it’s a tough major, but I think I could do it.”

And while she’ll always miss cheering as a Bambi, there’s a chance she’ll be back some day to help.

“I would love to come back as a coach,” Roddy said. “Coach has coached a lot of the coaches we have now. A lot of people come back because they love being here and I know why. At nationals, I just couldn’t stop crying because I knew I was going to miss it so much. I’ll definitely be back.” ••