FORT WAYNE – Over the past four years, Maddie Devlin could’ve gotten down or aggravated. No one would have blamed her. There were plenty of reasons to justify any negative feelings. But with assistance from teammates, family and the Canterbury girls soccer coaches, the senior midfielder has remained positive during a time when the setbacks were mounting.
I never got frustrated, Devlin said. I got down on myself a lot of times, and my mom and dad were like hang in there, you are fine.’ I don’t think I could have gotten back into the swing of things without (them).
A lot came from the team and my family and (Canterbury coaches) Jennie (Crandal) and Amanda (Burge). They pushed me a lot and encouraged me. I didn’t think I was ever going to get back into it with all my injuries, so I just worked hard at it and tried to get back into the swing of things.
The negatives have almost come every year since she was in middle school.
It all started for Devlin as an eighth-grader at St. John the Baptist when an illness led to a near coma and eventually to the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes.
I was thinking I have a disease I can’t do anything (to cure it), Devlin said. It took a lot for me to realize I was just like any other kid; I just have to make an adjustment in my life. It wasn’t as much of a burden as I thought it would be.
Just as she was beginning to adjust to life with the disease and the subsequent monitoring of her blood sugar, eating habits and injections via an insulin pen, her freshman soccer season at Canterbury was cut short by a serious patella injury that required surgery on her left knee.
As Devlin was working hard to get into action for track and club soccer seasons, she got tendinitis in her knee. The effort was there – again – to return and she did so for preseason practices before her sophomore season. But then she suffered a pulled quadriceps muscle in her left leg and missed all of her sophomore and parts of her junior year.
Devlin’s road to recovery from the injuries has at times been a tough one slowed by a non-curable but treatable disease.
A big part of what kept me out longer than other people is diabetes causes injuries to last longer because you don’t recover as quickly as everybody else, she said. That’s why it took a long time, and it kept getting worse and worse. Things would get better but not 100 percent, and I would go out and play a sport, and it would be something else.
Despite her awareness and support of Devlin’s condition and special needs, Crandal said she takes little credit in the comeback.
There is a mindset that Amanda and I both have kids, and we treat them as our own kids, Crandal said. It’s what I would do with mine, checking to see that they had everything. It’s just with Maddie and making sure she’s had a solid breakfast, solid lunch and kept her sugar levels where they need to be.
As a senior, Devlin is back, healthy and happy as she was named a co-captain for the Cavaliers.
This is really going to be her year to shine, Crandal said. She has really had to battle through some stuff.