Hernandez Gil stages comeback in junior season
For many basketball players, an ankle injury may mean the end of a career; but for junior Ana Hernandez Gil, it is merely an obstacle to achieving her goals.
Hernandez Gil finished her freshman year in the spring of 2017 with 145 points and an average of 10.7 minutes in 27 games played. She also ranked top three in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) in three-point percentage at one point during the season. Hernandez Gil was eager to start training for her sophomore year, but her offseason was cut short when she broke her ankle during practice.
“I was going for a layup, and they were hitting us with pads to go hard,” Hernandez Gil said. “They hit me and I lost control of my body, so I came down on my ankle and it just broke. I knew it was broken right away. I heard it.”
Hernandez Gil lost her sophomore season because the healing process was longer than expected. After getting surgery to fix her ankle, Hernandez Gil started practicing again. Her early recovery halted after finding out she needed a second surgery to remove the scar tissue build-up in her ankle.
“Obviously, it is hard,” Hernandez Gil said. “I have been sitting out for one year watching practice all the time, and [I’m] just like, ‘Oh my gosh, I wish I was playing.’”
Hernandez Gil decided to embrace her time on the sidelines as an opportunity to learn and grow as a player. She watched her teammates in games and practices and studied their plays – learning from their mistakes.
Hernandez Gil is no stranger to injuries and has experienced missing a season before. The Canary Island native missed a season when she was 16 years old after tearing her ACL in her first European Championship with Spain. She stayed positive heading into recovery for her ankle this time because she knew what it would take to rehabilitate it so she could play again.
Her first time practicing after the second surgery was in April. She was happy to be back on the court and was doing everything she could to be ready for her junior season.
“I started little by little,” Hernandez Gil said. “They would not let me run all the time, and I had to stop myself. Being at Hofstra for the summer helped me a lot too.”
Hernandez Gil is optimistic about the upcoming season and wants to contribute to her team in any way that she can to help the Pride win the CAA Championship.
“Now that I get to play, I am just enjoying it,” Hernandez Gil said. “I am trying to get back to the same level that I was at, and if not, then at least I know I am trying my best.”
Overcoming her injury is just a stepping stone to her goals. Even though Hernandez Gil dreams of one day owning her own business, she wants to play basketball for as long as she can. After her senior year, she plans to go home to Spain in hopes of playing professionally in Europe. She also dreams of one day representing her country in the Olympics.
Hernandez Gil has accomplished a great deal in her time playing basketball and continues to strive for bigger goals. However, she does not focus on her achievements but rather on enjoying the game she fell in love with when she was 7 years old.
“What my parents always say is you don’t know what you have accomplished until you are 30 years old and you no longer play basketball,” Hernandez Gil said. “Right now I just play basketball because it is fun.”