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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A teenage soccer star from Guatemala has quite a comeback story following a devastating injury that could have ended her career. Instead, she recovered in South Florida and may even end up going to school at the University of Miami where her view of the soccer field inspired her during rehabilitation.

Anika Schaps, 17-years-old, was in a pre-World Cup tournament 11-months ago when she partially tore her ACL and while recovering and training for college visits, she suffered a devastating setback.

“When your tear your ACL it sounds, it pops,” described Schaps. “It popped, I was like, ‘omg, I tore it again.’”

“It’s a more common injury in female athletes, 7 times more common,” explained Dr. Lee Kaplan, Director of UHealth Sports Medicine Institute. “It’s devastating because they can’t do cutting sports. She’ll lose her explosion to the ball. She’ll lose confidence in her skill sets.”

Anika and her family traveled to Miami and UHealth and the newly built Lennar Foundation Medical Center for surgery and rehab, hoping it will get her on a faster road to recovery and help her university options.

“I’m fixing the knee, the knee has been the same for 5 million years but I’m really thinking about how is it for her and why is it important to her,” explained Dr. Kaplan.

Her surgery with Dr. Kaplan was a success.

“Lead athletes get it done so that they can get out of injury phase and get into the recovery phase. From the mental perspective, they’re used to challenges by flipping the switch and putting them into a positive frame of mind, that’s great,” he said.

Schaps knew she wanted to come to Miami for rehabilitation.

“I knew that this place was going to be the best place for me if I want to keep walking, keep running, keep playing soccer, as active as I am,” said Schaps.

Schaps, who’s been accepted to 5 universities including UM, wants to play for the women’s soccer team and study medicine.

She said rehabbing with a view of the soccer field was key.

“I can see the field, that was my biggest motivation; I could work out here and watch the girls train there.”

Anika is returning to Guatemala but will continue her rehab remotely.

She has not yet decided where she’ll be going to school next year.


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