Junior cross-country runner Emily Dunne had aspirations of setting both individual and school records as a freshman. But a long list of injuries sidelined her for the better part of two years.
"It seemed like every time I tried to come back or progress it was another injury and another setback," Dunne said. "Just a constant cycle."
Dunne's original injury came in the spring track season during her senior year in high school in 2011. A lingering right leg injury was later diagnosed as a stress fracture, abruptly ending her season.
After months of rehab and physical therapy, Dunne hoped to compete with the Elon team in the fall, but she hurried back too quickly and was forced to use a medical red shirt, ending her freshman campaign before it even started.
In 2012, Dunne was on the comeback before injuring her shins and once again having to return to rehab work and physical therapy.
"It was frustrating," Dunne said. "For any athlete to get injured it's just so frustrating. I feel like injury after injury and still not be able to run with the team and compete at a high level was very frustrating."
That same year, Dunne visited an orthopedic who told her to hang up the cleats. But Dunne was determined.
"I was like 'No way! There is no way I'm going to do that," Dunne said. "I couldn't imagine stopping there and quitting then."
Despite the warning from the orthopedic, Dunne continued to work her way back, gaining admiration from fellow runners and coaches.
"I'm so proud of how far Emily has come since freshman year," said teammate Haylee Dawe. "It's a testament to her perseverance and character as a person and I'm not sure there is another other person would have stuck with it like she did."
Today, Dunne has a clean bill of health and wants other athletes to learn from her experiences.
"I advise them to roll out for that extra 10 minutes or if you have a specific spot that is bothering you to not just let it go. Be in constant contact with your coaches and trainers"