When Sarah Barredo stepped out of the court in Centro Atletico Badminton Center for the start of the UAAP Season 85 tournament, it was a mixture of a lot of emotions for her.
It is because just in February of this year, in the Second MVP Badminton Cup, the 23-year-old suffered an ACL injury that made her stop doing what she loves and does best — playing badminton.
“Nung last February po, I got injured pero mild lang siya — ACL sprain po siya. And then before kaming nag-SEA Games, parang constant po siyang sumasakit yung knee ko. Tapos akala ko kasi parang ano siya, parang tight lang yung muscles ko,” Barredo recalled.
The national team stalwart bucked the pain and even got to train still for this year’s 31st SEA Games in Vietnam. However, when she underwent magnetic resonance imaging, it was discovered that her right knee had a lateral meniscus tear.
Barredo expected such results as she had experienced something liquid on her knee while playing in the SEA Games. Fortunately for her, she was able to go back to training albeit taking it lightly as she was able to undergo therapy as soon as the findings came out.
She continued, “Pagkatapos po nun, mga June up until before season po, ang naging ano ko is rehab talaga. Almost a month akong nag-rehab. Tapos ang training ko lang is parang tayo lang, hindi siya yung todo talaga.”
Fast forward to the last day of October, Barredo returned to the collegiate scene as the team captain of a National University squad aiming to get another UAAP podium finish.
It was not a smooth ride at all, so to speak, as the Lady Bulldogs skipper still had hesitations if she could bring her ultimate best because of her nagging injury.
“Actually kasi having an injury, talagang malaking factor yun lalo na sa mental,” Barredo admitted. “Kasi parang may dinadala ka na na bigat ganon. Kasi kung mild lang sana siya at kung hindi siya tuhod, OK lang sana yon. Pero kasi pinaka-serious na injury lalo na ‘pag may tear talaga is yung knee. Ang hirap din gumalaw.
She added, “Thankful naman ako naman ako kasi less pa rin naman, hindi siya yung totally, as in punit na punit. Masarap sa feeling kasi kahit anon pa rin naman yung pain, kailangan lalaban mo pa rin mentally. Hindi mo na dapat iisipin na may masakit pa rin. Kasi di ba, kung ano yung iniisip mo, yun yung lalabas sa iyo.”
It was a tough defeat for the ladies from Jhocson Street in their season debut against University of the Philippines, where they lost the tie at 1-4, but not without some close matches, including the first two singles matches with Barredo coming into that second one losing to rookie Anthea Gonzalez in three games.
“After nung talo namin sa UP, one step at the time muna talaga kami kasi kailangang kunin muna today (pertaining to the Monday tie against La Salle),” Barredo said.
And the Lady Bulldogs did just that with no less than a sweep of the Lady Green Shuttlers for a 1-1 win-loss record.
It might be a tough road for the NU women in the coming days but with their captain Barredo pushing them despite her own adversities, we can expect them to bite and fight no matter what.