The World Is Our Campus

The Arcadia Quill

The World Is Our Campus

The Arcadia Quill

The World Is Our Campus

The Arcadia Quill

Varsity Girls Tennis Athlete Feature: Kaarthiga Selvakkumran Shows Resilience

Lea Wang

Amongst the student athletes at Arcadia High School (AHS), there are few stories as inspiring as that of sophomore Girls Tennis team player Karrthiga Selvakkumaran, who found her way back into her sport after an almost fatal injury. 

At the age of 8, Selvakkumaran embarked on her athletic journey when her parents enrolled her in the Pasadena Girls and Boys Club, where she was encouraged to explore a variety of sports such as soccer, volleyball, and tennis.

“I ended up choosing tennis because of its dynamic nature and the individual challenge it presents,” said Selvakkumaran.

However, Selvakkumaran’s journey took an unexpected turn during her 8th grade year when a skiing accident threatened to derail her athletic plans. In the second semester, while on a skiing trip at Big Bear, she challenged herself to ski down a steep black diamond course alone. Descending the course unaccompanied, she soon found herself hurtling down at an alarming pace, her velocity rapidly escalating. 

Remembering the advice that her mom gave her, Selvakumaran decided to crash into a bush to stop her. Upon regaining her composure, Selvakkumaran experienced a sharp pain in her left knee, prompting her to call her parents to come help her up. 

“At that time I didn’t really think anything of it, since I thought the pain was just from the impact, but when I finally took my equipment off my knee was swollen to the size of a small melon,” said Selvakkumaran. 

Following numerous scans and doctor’s appointments, Selvakkumaran received the diagnosis of a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

“At that point the doctor gave me two options: surgery or physical therapy,” Selvakkumaran explained. “However, if the therapy didn’t give the desired results, I would have to get the surgery anyways,” she added.

Despite the setback of a torn ACL, Kaarthiga opted for vigorous physical therapy over surgery to ensure her swift return to the court. During her rehabilitation journey, Selvakkumaran encountered numerous hurdles that tested her resilience. Each session was a battle against pain and discomfort as she diligently worked to regain strength and mobility in her injured knee. 

In early August of 2023, Selvakkumaran was cleared by her doctors to return to the tennis court. However, this milestone marked the beginning of a new challenge: with girls’ tennis tryouts scheduled for the end of August, she faced a race against time to regain her form and physical condition.

“It was extremely hard to pick up tennis again when I got back on my feet. I had to relearn my form and how to hit the ball efficiently,” said Selvakkumaran. “I think I was practicing 15 hours every week.”

Through the trials and tribulations, Selvakkumaran persevered and successfully secured a spot as a singles player on the JV Girls Tennis team for the 2022-2023 season. Even though she didn’t make the team she hoped to make, Selvakkumaran continued to train and motivate herself, earning her a spot as a singles player for the Varsity Girls Tennis team for the 2023-2024 season. 

“If anything I think [this injury] has taught me to stand up to challenges. Now I stand up to all challenges on and off the courts,” said Selvakkumaran.

Fellow players can agree with this testament: “I’ve observed her unwavering dedication to the sport and I’m aware of the extensive effort she puts in and outside of practice,” said sophomore JV player Eleanor Qi. 

Sophomore Varsity player Iris Chen provides the same praise: “She’s really hard working and always is the first to get on the court. She’s constantly looking for players to rally with her.” 

Beyond just physical and mental rewards, tennis has been able to bring along some of Selvakkumaran’s best memories whether it be playing alongside her friends or family. 

“My dad actually started playing tennis to play with me, which inspired my mom to join in as well,” said Selvakkumaran. “Now, it has become a cherished family bonding experience for all of us.”

In the face of adversity, Selvakkumaran’s journey from an almost fatal injury to achieving her goal of making the varsity team serves as a beacon of determination. Her unwavering commitment to her sport underscores the strength of perseverance both on and off the court. However, her journey is far from over, as she continues to inspire others with her resilience and commitment to her beloved sport! 

Photo by Lea Wang

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Arcadia Quill Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *