GALION – Kylie Redman has been doing a lot of watching and waiting. The Galion junior has been put through more trials and tribulation than any teen should.
But, she is determined to come out on top no matter what obstacles are thrown in her way, and there have been too many to count. Basketball was her first love just a bit ahead of track. Sports have always been an influential portion of her life, and they have dictated her life in many ways, both good and bad.
But, it was a different set of circumstances that Redman had to battle at the ripe age of 3-days old. After her birth, the family pediatrician discovered that she was born with a hole in her heart.
“She had open heart surgery at the age of 3 months at Children’s Hospital in Columbus to patch the hole. She was in the hospital for 10 days. It has never really held her back. She did have a lot of doctors visits as a child for heart related checkups, but has never been on any restrictions related to the surgery,” said Todd Redman, Kylie’s father.
Kylie’s mother, Gina, has been inspired seeing her daughter overcome.
“It is rewarding to see her excel and participate because of the tough start to life that she had. It as always been an uphill battle for Kylie and for her to be the athlete that she is just brings me a sense of reward and pride,” Gina said.
As her father said, it has never really held her back.
But it may not have been the surgery that made her heart whole. That came four years later in the form of a basketball.
Finding her therapy
The niece of a great basketball mind and a father and mother who were willing to provide her with any opportunity she wanted, Kylie took to the game like a fish to water.
“She has been around basketball all of her life. Her aunt, Lesley Redman Hess, was former head girls coach at River Valley and Ontario when Kylie was very little. She began playing organized ball in kindergarten at the YMCA and through Upwards. She played at Friendly House with her Galion teammates from fourth through sixth grade. She also began playing AAU basketball for me in the fourth grade. She continued that through this past spring,” Todd Redman said.
As a kid Kylie always told her parents she was fast, but the Redman’s never really thought anything of it. A scoliosis diagnosis at the age of 11was just another minor case of adversity. But, Kylie was fast, really fast. She excelled on the track winning the 100 meter dash at the junior high league meet as a seventh grader. She waited a year to make history by setting the middle school record in the 100 as an eighth grader.
The speed transferred from the track to the basketball court. A fixture in the gym by her dad’s side on her AAU team, Kylie never let the basketball too far out of her sight.
Her ultimate goal was to make varsity as a freshman. A broker finger on her shooting hand nearly derailed that.
“She broke a finger on her shooting hand in the last AAU game of her eighth grade year. She was determined and continued to go to workouts with her mentor coach Erskine Braggs (working on her weak hand) with a brace on her right hand. She also attended team camp, but had to sit on the sidelines and watch,” Todd Redman said.
That is when the sitting and watching portion of Kylie’s life started. In the meantime, her finger healed in time for the basketball season and she was in the mix to be first player off the bench for the Galion girls varsity under former head coach Bryce Lehman.
Having it ripped away
The freshman realized her dream had come true and she was a varsity basketball player.
It could have been an omen.
During the preview game against Norwalk St. Paul, Kylie was summoned from the bench early in the first quarter and immediately made an impact. She made an incredible LeBron James-like chase down defensive play. The opportunity presented itself again in the second quarter and again, Kylie tried to make the play, but this time she tangled with the offensive player and stumbled to the floor.
“Needless to say, that was the worst moment of our lives. As parents, we just knew it wasn’t good. The gym was quiet and our daughter was writhing in pain. I can honestly say, I was hoping for a broken ankle — not a knee injury. I helped carry Kylie into the Shelby training room. Their trainer worked with her for about a half an hour. She was in terrible pain. I stood behind her at her head and held her hands as she laid on the training table. My wife, Gina, was watching our 2-year old in the stands waiting for any type of news. In that room, I promised Kylie I would do anything in my power to get her back to 100 percent. She left Shelby on crutches and spent the night in excruciating pain,” Todd said.
Kylie said, “Something did not feel right, I knew it was not normal. I just instantly started crying because I just knew that my ACL was gone. I was not crying because of the pain, I was crying because my season was over. I was not fully diagnosed yet so I went home and researched. We went for an MRI a couple of days later and my parents were both crying when they had to tell me the news that I tore my ACL.”
Gina said, “She is not a complainer. It was disappointing because she accomplished her goal and had it taken away but I knew something was not right when it happened because she never complained about anything. She always fought through pain.”
Two days before Christmas, Kylie had her surgery to replace the ACL and had to be hooked to a machine that kept her knee in constant movement for her entire Christmas vacation. Road block number four was the hardest one for the young Redman to cope with. She now had to sit and watch with her knee in a brace and the muscles in her legs shrinking while her teammates played the game she loved.
“I grew angry because I could not walk, I could not do the normal things that I have done all my life,” Kylie said. “The smallest of things that I took for granted were taken away in less than a second. It was very frustrating.”
Kylie began rehab with one goal in mind, to run track. Maybe not every meet of the season, but to actually be able to compete in one meet. The rehab was tedious. It started at the Ortho Center but eventually moved to the track. Initially at the track, she would walk seven laps and lightly jog one. Then walk six and jog two. It was part of the standard protocol for rehabbing her knee. But, one thing stuck out to her on that sheet of paper that dictated her life and held her athletic future in front of her.
“Eventually, I was going to be allowed to sprint. Only in straight lines but it allowed for me to sprint after I completed all of the other protocols with no pain. So, I worked myself up to the point that sprinting was the next step and I began to work on my sprinting. It also gave me the idea that I could actually compete in a track meet if I ran the 100,” Kylie said.
Throwing caution to the wind
Five months after her surgery, Kylie and her family scheduled a checkup and tossed the idea of doing a sprinting event at a meet. Why not? It was part of her protocol, right? The doctors were not all that sure about it, but in a freshman and sophomore meet, Kylie felt the rush of adrenaline run through her veins as she lined up on the blocks for the 100 meter dash.
“The doctors said I progressed faster than anyone they had ever seen. So, I pitched the idea of sprinting to my coaches and they told me that if my parents and I were OK with it, I could run in a meet. I was worried about how I would come off of the blocks, but I competed and I cried after it was over. I was not in pain but I was just overcome with joy that I finished,” Kylie said.
“She ran the 100 at the Buckeye Central freshman and sophomore meet. That was the longest 13.9 seconds of our lives. Kylie finished in the middle of the pack, but it did not matter. She finished. That was an incredibly proud moment for us as parents. She ran in one more meet that spring helping to set the 4×100 relay meet record at the Shelby freshman/sophomore meet,” Todd Redman said.
After the track season, Kylie was fitted for a brace that all ACL patients get. Something she grew to hate very quickly. But, she was able to get back on to the court.
Over the summer she rehabbed and played AAU ball with the brace and heading into her sophomore year she was ready to compete again.
“As school started, so did basketball conditioning. Midway through football season, her knee began clicking when she ran and causing her a lot of pain. At this point, it was probably an overuse injury. She took about three weeks off and the pain got no better — it actually got worse. Her surgeon ordered an MRI. Luckily, it came back negative. Her knee was just tracking wrong and her quad wasn’t firing properly which led to an MCL strain. He ordered more rehab. That, along with some serious sports massage, was enough to get her healthy for the start of basketball season,” Todd Redman said.
The MCL strain because of the intense rehabbing was the final diagnosis. Road block number five was a tough one. Only this time, she did not have to miss much time and she did not have to sit and watch again, something she also grew to hate along with that pesky brace.
By the time the season rolled around, Kylie felt strong enough to play without the brace. It was a goal of hers to get rid of that thing. Even without the brace, she was a shell of her former self. She had highs including 12 points in a comeback win over Mount Gilead. But, most of the season was spent playing scared and worrying that she would re-injure her knee.
Then in late January of 2015, a teammate fell on her surgically repaired knee. Kylie did not come out of the game and finished out the day and even practiced the next day.
“By that night, she was in tears. The pain was really bad. She thought she had torn the ACL or meniscus in the repaired knee. A few different team trainers from Galion and other schools examined her and recommended she go back to her surgeon,” Todd Redman said.
“It hurt worse than my ACL tear. I just cried because I thought it was all over again. It turned out to be a hyper-extension with a severe bone bruise,” Kylie said.
Kylie was back to sitting and watching and her basketball season was over yet again. Only this time, while sitting, waiting and watching, she rehabbed her knee and also worked on her upper body strength. Shortly, after basketball season was over, the idea was given to Kylie to go to a powerlifting meet at Bucyrus High School. She won the bench press in her weight class but left unsatisfied.
“I suggested she go to the state powerlifting meet the following weekend at Kenton High School. She went and tied the state bench press record in the 145 pound class. She benched 150 pounds. She tried for a 160, but somehow lost control of the bar and hit herself on top of the head. A severe headache followed. A few days later she was diagnosed with a concussion. The concussion and the knee rehab put her about 4 weeks behind everyone going into track season,” Todd Redman said.
Being behind opens her eyes
Being four weeks behind in track was tough to overcome and Kylie never really fully got back to her normal self. However; she did run on the league record setting, and county champion 4×100 relay team and was an alternate on the State Runner Up relay team.
As her AAU basketball coach, Todd held his daughter out for most of the spring. One day after a tournament, Kylie realized that basketball was no longer a part of her future and told her father she would no longer lace up her sneakers on the basketball floor.
“I just lost the love for the game and playing hurt was no fun. Having to worry about if I was going to get injured again was not the way I wanted to play. So, I told my parents I would not be playing basketball,” Kylie said.
“We had about a three hour heart-to-heart that night and supported her decision. It felt like a weight had been lifted from our shoulders too. My wife and I had started worrying more about injuries too, rather than enjoying our daughter playing the game,” Todd said.
“It was bittersweet because she is not a quitter at anything,” Gina said. “But, track is something she loved and basketball was always that sport that gave her setbacks and never let her be healthy for track. She made an adult decision as a sophomore and I was very proud of her for that,” Gina said.
Kylie has since picked up CrossFit and has been working out three times a week at a local gym, sometimes at 5:30 a.m. She is also going to D1 Sports Training and working with former OSU wide receiver Chris Fields once a week and doing workouts on her own at the track, as well. She is finally ready to be 100 percent for the upcoming track season.
In the meantime, after watching her father participate in the Tough Mudder in 2014, Kylie set the goal of competing one day. After a rule change for the age limit was dropped to 16, Kylie will be getting muddy with her dad in Michigan in September as part of her 17th birthday present.
“I have always looked up to my parents and I think that being able to do the Tough Mudder with him is a chance of a lifetime,” Kylie said.
The junior plans to participate in indoor track this winter and compete in powerlifting. She plans on breaking records in her powerlifting events and has the goal of anchoring her 4×100 relay team and helping them advance to state and be a regional qualifier in the 100 and 200 meter dash events. Her mom even has high expectations.
“I see big things from her this track season. For her to be a record holder in middle school and all of the amazing athletes that have come through ahead of her, it is going to be a joy to see her fully healthy for a track season. She works hard at everything she does and I am expecting some big things this year,” Gina added.
One thing is certain, road blocks were just road blocks, there will be no more watching and waiting. Kylie is going to shine.