It’s a good thing Kait Haughey doesn’t listen to everyone.
She might not be doing what she loves if she did.
Haughey is going to be a senior at Penn Charter High School, and when she was a sophomore, she suffered a horrific knee injury during a soccer game.
She was diagnosed with a torn ACL, which is a serious injury for an athlete that typically keeps them off the field for about nine months.
For her, it was worse.
“I had the surgery, and it still hurt and wasn’t healing right,” said Haughey, who lives near Boyle Playground. “It wasn’t getting better, so I had to have another surgery to remove a lot of the scar tissue. Then I had to get a second opinion and I had another surgery. Then I had to do rehab and physical therapy. It was a lot, and it was hard.
“People told me it might be career ending. I didn’t listen to them. I was a little worried when it wasn’t getting better, but I never thought it was going to be the end of my career. I always thought that I’d get better. I just worked hard to get back because I wanted to play. I wasn’t worried.”
Now she’s just worried about getting better at the sport.
Haughey made her triumphant return at the end of last soccer season, scoring two goals in four games and helping the Quakers win the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association championship by besting Westtown 1-0 in the championship.
Haughey didn’t score in the final, but she was back to her old self after playing three games and was happy to contribute to the title win.
“I came back right at the start of the tournament and it was hard because I was on a minutes restriction, so I couldn’t jump right back in,” Haughey said. “I wanted to play a lot, especially because I hadn’t been playing. It was tough when I wasn’t playing, I was coming to games watching people do what I love, and I couldn’t do it with them.
“It was hard because when I was feeling better, I started playing and we did great, I’m glad we had a long run, and it was great to win. But then the season was over. I didn’t come back as early as I wanted to.”
She didn’t have much time to rest up after soccer.
Shortly after it ended, she was back playing her other sport, basketball. And while she was a reserve player for the Quakers, she once again helped her squad reach the PISAA championship game, though this time her team took second.
“Basketball isn’t my top sport, I’m not good at basketball as I am at soccer, that’s definitely my sport,” Haughey said. “But I like basketball a lot. I think I’ll be starting next year because we lost some good players. But soccer is the sport I want to play after high school.
“It’s still hard to play both sports, basketball was tough. There are times that I can’t straighten my left out as much as I want, but it doesn’t hurt much and I have no restrictions. I can do everything I could before the injury. I think playing basketball helps get it back to where it was before I got hurt.”
Basketball is a great activity for Haughey. She’s been playing the sport her entire life and she’s still improving. She had a strong year last year, but the Quakers were loaded, having a great year in the Inter-Ac and in its state playoff run.
But Haughey is now looking forward to getting back on the soccer field so she can secure a scholarship.
She likely will. She has all the talent needed to get an offer. But she is a little behind in the game. Although she’s been a varsity player since she was in eighth grade, she missed most of her junior campaign, so she has some making up to do.
She plans on doing that this summer. She’ll play for FC Bucks, her club team, and she also plans on competing at the ID Soccer Camps, which are showcases in front of many college coaches.
“The camps are good, you do a lot of individual drills and coaches can watch you and see how your footwork is and see what you can do,” Haughey said. “Then they split you up and you’re able to scrimmage, and you’ll be able to show what you can do in a game. This will be good for me because it will give me a chance to show them. I didn’t get a chance to show them last year so I hope we have these.”
Obviously everything remains up in the air because of coronavirus, but Haughey hopes she’s able to show people what she can do on the field.
She also has a lot to offer in the classroom.
Haughey struggled when she first arrived at Penn Charter, but now she’s doing well in school and is ready for a senior year and then college.
“Penn Charter is a great school, I had to learn how to prepare for school,” Haughey said. “But I’m doing much better now. It’s getting better. Penn Charter is a great school for sports and academics and it’s preparing me for the future.”
It’s also taught her to never give up. Even when people say it might be over.
“I never listened when they told me I wouldn’t play again,” Haughey said. “I’m happy to be back playing. I’m happy to be healthy for senior year.”