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Shoulder injury didn't slow down transfer from WMU

October 7, 2005

Ashley Schatzle first felt that something was wrong with her shoulder in her later high school years.

But after having surgery last winter, this outside hitter for the MSU volleyball team said her game has improved.

"I had a fray in my rotator cuff," said Schatzle, a nursing sophomore, describing her shoulder injury.

"My ligaments kept getting stretched out."

Schatzle underwent surgery last December to fix the problems with her shoulder.

MSU head coach Cathy George said her injury was not sports related.

The pain came from a natural double joint in Schatzle's shoulder, and the overuse of Schatzle's shoulder created a looseness in her shoulder capsule.

During the surgery, the doctors tightened her shoulder capsule to prevent any further shifting or stretching, Schatzle said.

"It was a surgery to keep her pain-free," assistant coach Russell Carney said, adding that the injury and surgery was not a "career-ending" problem.

Schatzle had to go through four months of physical therapy following the surgery to strengthen her shoulder.

"There was a couple of months where I wasn't doing any better, and I was a little worried," Schatzle said.

Whether Schatzle could bounce back from the surgery was not an issue, though, George said.

"With any athlete that's coming back from a surgery, you don't know what's going to come out of it," George said.

However, Schatzle has a very positive outlook on her situation.

"I'm feeling better," Schatzle said. "I think I'm hitting better than I was last year."

As of Sept. 26, Schatzle already racked up 124 kills and 327 total attacks for the season.

Carney said what helped Schatzle recover so well was all within herself.

"She's got a good mental toughness and a strong work ethic," Carney said, adding that Schatzle has done a good job of following the physical therapy exercises.

Schatzle is new to the MSU volleyball team this year, after transferring from Western Michigan University.

George described Schatzle as "determined, competitive, and very driven," and she said the most difficult part for Schatzle was moving to a different university.

"I think the spring was the hardest time," George said. "She went all spring with no one to train with."

Now George says she thinks Schatzle's doing just fine.

"She came here, and she was ready to jump in and has made, what I think, a pretty smooth transition," George said.

Carney said what helped the transition for Schatzle is that she already knew the coaching staff, which is also new to MSU as well.

"There was a comfort that she's already been through a season with us," Carney said.

George said the best way for Schatzle to fully recover is to continue to strengthen her shoulder muscles.

"There's still some pain associated with it," George said.

"But mechanically, she's getting better every day,"

The volleyball team (9-5 overall, 2-2 Big Ten) faces Purdue (12-3, 1-3) at 7 p.m. tonight at the Jenison Field House.

"Purdue's been playing extremely well," George said, adding that Purdue has "always been known for their defense," but she said the team is "much stronger at the net this year."

Schatzle said Purdue will be good competition.

"We're all fighting for the same spot in the Big Ten," she said.

After Purdue, the Spartans will stay home to battle Illinois at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

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