Pryce dreams of full recovery from horrible Penns injury
In this file photo, Samantha Pryce of Holmwood Technical High School clears the water hurdle on her way to winning the first gold medal of the 2021 Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association/GracKennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships in the 2000m steeple chase Open inside the National Stadium. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)

Holmwood Techncial's Samantha Pryce, gold medallist at the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships and Carifta Championships in April, was unsure if she would be able to continue her track and field career as she suffered a horrible injury at the 126th Penn Relays in late April.

Pryce, who won two gold medals at Champs and a gold and a silver at the Carifta Games, fell and broke her leg as she competed in the High School Girls Championships of America 4x800m finals at Franklin Field in Philadephia. Her memory of the actual incident remains foggy, but she said one thing was at the forefront of her mind:"Every time a doctor came into my room the first thing I would ask is if I would be able to run again," she told the Jamaica Observer.

"And they kept telling me, 'Yes, you are young and will heal well,' but I still wanted to be sure."

Pryce returned to the island last Thursday with a rod inserted in her leg to stabilise it.

"I am feeling a lot better now, I can walk without assistance and I am just happy to be back home with family and friends and the things that I know."

The Champs steeple chase and 3,000m champion, who was making her first trip to the USA and to the Penn Relays, has little recollection of the incident.

"I am not sure what really happened, but I felt like I was tripped from behind and I went down hard, I tried to get right back up but I could not and my leg just started swelling up and there was terrible pain."

She said she knew the leg was broken and when the medical crew got to her and she asked them, she said they did not want to answer her but kept telling her to be calm.

"But I knew that it was broken," she said.

With the assistance of Team Jamaica Bickle (TJB) and with the University of Pennsylvania footing her medical bills, Pryce said she was grateful for the quality of the care she got at the hospital and later in the first part of her rehabilitation.

"It was a very difficult time, but they took great care of me and I am grateful to all who were involved, I really appreciated everything," Pryce said.

Irwine Clare, chairman of TJB, the organisation that caters to the housing and feeding of Jamaican athletes at the Penn Relays and other events in the USA, told the Observer Pryce underwent operation at Penn Presbyterian Hospital, one of the major trauma care facilities in the area.

"We made sure that she got the best care. We collaborated with the University of Pennsylvania for her to receive post-operation and physical therapy treatment there and we also secured proper housing and saw to all her needs after she was released from the hospital," Clare said.

The injury setback will result in a delay in Pryce taking up scholarship offers as well as to complete her studies, but she remains positive about the future.

"I had some offers for scholarships and I have been in touch with the schools. Yes, they have stayed in touch and so I will take my time before I make my decision," she said, while hinting that with the rod in her leg she might be looking at schools in typically warm weather states.

Paul Reid

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