A triumphant return: Kaylee Foster gets back on the diamond for the first time in nearly a year

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, August 30, 2023

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A year ago, everything was going well for LaGrange High pitcher Kaylee Foster. 

Foster was one of the team’s two primary pitchers as just a sophomore. Her speed and command had grown tremendously since her freshman year, but her stellar sophomore season would go awry when she suffered a devastating knee injury at the LaGrange Toyota Invitational on Oct. 1.

“I knew something was wrong right away,” Foster said, choking up on her words as she remembers a dark day. 

“I have fallen before and hurt myself before, but I had never felt like I did that day.”

Foster mentally prepared herself for the worst diagnosis, so when she received the new that she had torn her ACL, she was able to handle it better than she might have previously.

“Multiple people told me beforehand that it looked really bad, so when I went to my Atlanta doctor I was able to prepare myself for what he was going to say,” Foster said. “It was disappointing of course, but I was able prepare myself for it.”

Foster had to have surgery to repair her broken ACL. The process to walk again, much less play softball, was a long and arduous one.

“For about five months after surgery I couldn’t lift my leg,” Foster said. “I missed 76 days of school one semester because I couldn’t walk.

“That was hard because I couldn’t really do anything by myself.”

Nearly 11 months after her devastating knee injury, Foster returned to the diamond with the Grangers JV squad last week against the Columbus Blue Devils.

“I went to the doctors twice before to be cleared and failed the test, so I was excited to get cleared and get back out there,” she said. 

When it actually came to game day, her initial nerves eventually turned to joy as she realized all her hard work over the last 11 months was paying dividends. 

She is still learning to trust her leg again, and this was another big step in her recovery.

“Sometimes I still don’t trust it,” Foster said with a nervous chuckle. “I got cleared last Monday (Aug. 21), so it’s been a full week now. 

“It is still hard to trust it because I don’t fully believe in it yet, but I’m working on that.”

As she continues to gain confidence in her leg, her varsity debut in 2023 awaits. In fact, she could see varsity reps as soon as mid-September, a prospect that both excites her and makes her a bit trepidatious.

These last 11 months have consisted of numerous doctor visits, countless hours in PT, and hundreds of miles traveling back and forth to all these appointments. This was an entirely new experience for Foster, who had never previously delt with a serious injury of this nature.

She could not be where she is today without the strong support system she has in place. Foster credits her mom more than anyone else for helping get her back on track.

“She missed a lot of work to help me,” she said. “She has driven me everywhere I’ve needed to go. She has been the main person getting me through this.”

Her mom was not the only member of the support system. Foster’s family, friends, coaches and teammates have all been there during this difficult stretch for her.

“They have given me a lot of support, I can’t even put it into words,” she said. “The coaches especially. They have been checking in with me every step of the way.” 

Missing the Grangers playoff run last season was one of the most difficult stretches of her young life. 

“It was extremely hard on me mentally,” Foster said. “After being on the field for so many years, it was definitely upsetting.”

Foster’s return to the mound fo the varsity team is eagerly awaited by the Granger faithful and her 2023 debut could be sooner rather than later.