Harmon working hard to play for Nazareth

Since tearing her ACL, Katie Harmon has worked hard at getting back to playing sports. She hopes to play basketball this winter for Nazareth Academy. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The best time to get injured is never.

The second-best time is a few months before all sports shut down.

Nobody wants to tear their ACL, but if you’re going to do it, Katie Harmon picked the perfect time to suffer the knee injury.

Harmon is a junior at Nazareth Academy High School, and last year when she was playing her winter sport, basketball, she suffered the dreaded knee injury early in the season. It ended her season, but it didn’t impact her lacrosse season because sports were shut down due to the coronavirus. Since soccer was cut short this year because of the virus, she didn’t miss a full soccer campaign.

That doesn’t mean it was a good injury or it was easy.

“I knew right away, I was playing in a game against St. Basil’s, and I was going up for a layup and I tried to do a jump stop, and I did it,” said Harmon, a combo guard who lives in Torresdale.

“Everyone said to me that if you had to do it, you did it at the perfect time because everybody was off for most of the time. So I really didn’t miss a lot. I missed soccer this year, that was hard, and I missed all of the rest of basketball season, so that wasn’t good. But I didn’t miss lacrosse, and most people didn’t do a lot during the summer.”

But Harmon did.

After having surgery a month after she suffered the injury, Harmon was focused on getting back on the field, and she knew that would take a lot of hard work to accomplish that goal. She was forced to miss a few days because her rehab facility shut down with the rest of the world, but it quickly reopened and she never missed a day.

She wouldn’t let anything keep her from getting back.

“It was hard because you have to do a lot to make sure you’re getting better, but you can’t do too much,” Harmon said. “During quarantine, it was hard to find motivation because nobody was doing anything, but it felt good doing something because nobody else could. Now I’m just waiting for the knee to get completely healthy because you can’t play until it is, but I feel very good now.”

Harmon is now cleared to get back to work, although she’s not cleared for contact, so she’s not quite where she wants to be, and she’ll likely miss all of soccer season.

That has been a tough pill to swallow because last year as a sophomore, she was co-Most Valuable Player of the Catholic Academies League.

But she could return for the start of basketball season, which starts in a few weeks, so she’s going to continue to spend all of her free time getting ready.

“It depends when you ask me, but I think soccer is my favorite sport, so it was hard not to be out there with them,” Harmon said. “I still went to every game and every practice, but I definitely wanted to play. I just wanted to go out there and help them.

“I still can’t do contact, but I’m getting closer and I hope to be ready for basketball. There’s a lot of things I can do for soccer, but I can’t have contact, so I’m not able to play. That was really hard this year.”

While contact has been off the table for the past few months, it doesn’t mean Harmon wasn’t very active. In fact, when you factor in the time she spent getting her knee stronger, she barely had any free time thanks to her ambitious schedule.

Harmon is a presidential ambassador at the school. She’s also involved with Nazathon, Athletes Helping Athletes, Panda Pals, which is a group that helps the school with open houses, Panda Irish Pride club, the Cancer Awareness Club and thanks to her success in the classroom, the National Honor Society.

“I like being involved in a lot of things, and all of the clubs are great,” said Harmon, who maintains a 4.0 grade point average at Nazareth. “They’re all very good. I love Athletes Helping Athletes and in Panda Irish Pride, we partner with St. Lucy’s School for the Blind and help them with projects to raise money for them. I like doing a lot because it keeps me busy.”

But she’ll be happier when she’s busy playing sports.

She’s looking forward to getting back to lacrosse, which she has played her entire life, but that definitely ranks No. 3 on her list.

It would make sense for her to love basketball because her mom starred at Little Flower and St. Joe’s University.

But after her MVP performance last year, she leans toward soccer as her favorite sport, although she admits it changes by the minute.

“It’s definitely soccer or basketball,” said Harmon, who mostly plays striker. “Soccer, I think, is my favorite. I’ve always played a lot of sports, soccer, basketball, lacrosse and softball, and I like lacrosse because it’s a lot like soccer.

“I want to play basketball this year, I’m just looking forward to playing again. I still have some things I have to do before I’m back, but I’m really ready to play.”