Kickapoo’s Chloe Merced battles back to play senior year

As a three-sport standout, there’s not much Kickapoo senior Chloe Merced can’t do.

“I’ve told her all along I think she could play middle linebacker here on Friday nights,” joked Kickapoo Head Coach Jason Howser.

While that might be true, Chloe instead spends her time in the middle of the lineup for the Lady Chiefs softball team.

But what seems so normal now was no guarantee eight months ago.

“I’ve never felt that type of pain before,” Chloe said. “I tore my ACL, meniscus and fractured my femur.”

The basketball injury in January wiped out the rest of her season on the court and kept her out of commission through the spring and summer.

“I was at physical therapy five times a week for like an hour and a half to two hours,” Chloe said.

Session after session Chloe kept pushing with one goal in mind.

“I didn’t want my knee to be the reason I wasn’t going to get my senior year so I just kind of kept that in the back of my mind and really just worked toward getting to play this season,” she said.

Now, there is another thought lingering in the back of Chloe’s mind.

“I think in the back of my mind, the last time I jumped up and landed on it, I hurt it,” she said. “So I just have to kind of fight through that.”

Howser says she’ll be just fine, considering how far she’s already come.

“I think it speaks to her character. She refuses to finish second in any sprint. If she’s got a chance to win it, she’s going to win it. She’s the first out of the dugout to help set up for practice,” he said.

And that won’t change, now that Chloe knows what it feels like to not practice at all.

“I love the sport. It’s my favorite sport obviously so it just feels amazing to finally be back,” Chloe said.

She’s back like she never left, back where she belongs.

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