After transferring to Lehigh from Boston College her freshman year, sophomore midfielder Hannah Cermack quickly earned a starting spot on the women’s lacrosse team.
But her first campaign as a Mountain Hawk ended abruptly. Cermack suffered an ACL tear during the team’s second game of the 2018 season against Penn State.
The injury prevented her from playing in the following 17 games, but it was not the end for Cermack.
ACL injuries can be debilitating, and often pose considerable setbacks for high-performing athletes. The recovery time typically spans from seven to nine months, but the time it takes to restore one’s pre-injury condition is dependent on many factors.
Cermack was not phased by the injury, and she tried to prevent it from holding her back any more than it had to. After seven months of recovery and rehabilitation, Cermack was ready to reclaim her starting spot.
“Hannah (Cermack) was always so positive about her injury,” said sophomore goalkeeper Samantha Sagi.
Cermack said the support she received during her recovery prevented her from ever getting discouraged. The encouragement offered by her teammates and family proved to be motivation for Cermack in restoring her pre-injury condition.
Cermack’s sister, Sammy Cermack, is an assistant coach for the women’s lacrosse team. Cermack said it was helpful to have her sister and team for support.
With injury-related issues behind her, Cermack has already made significant contributions to the team this season. Cermack is second in points with seven goals and eight assists, including a hat trick in the team’s recent 15-7 win against UMBC (15-7) and two points in its 13-10 win over Columbia on Tuesday.
“We knew Hannah (Cermack) would help our midfield. We are excited she’s healthy for our season,” said head coach Jill Redfern.
A two-time U.S. Lacrosse All-American, Cermack was regarded as one of the most talented female lacrosse players in the country during her high school career. Cermack was ranked the No. 9 recruit in the nation and out of the Class of 2021 and was also named to the All-State team all four years of high school.
Despite the overwhelming stress that comes with transferring schools and suffering an injury, Cermack’s performance on the field so far this season has showcased her resilience.
“This season, we are trying to beat the powerhouses of the Patriot League, Loyola and Navy,” Sagi said. “Having Hannah back is making that goal a lot more achievable.”
As for finally restoring full strength, Cermack is grateful to be able to play the sport she loves.
“I am just so excited to be able to play this season,” Cermack said. “I just find lacrosse so fun.”