Garrett Fuelling: From ACL injury to playing in final season

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The 2016-17 season isn’t a season Garrett Fuelling wants to remember. In that season, Fuelling tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

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Garrett Fuelling attempts to throw to an open Wizardz cutter in a game against IUPUI on March 18 at the Indy Invite in 2017. Fuelling only played on one day of this tournament. Photo by Patrick Murphy

In one of the last tournaments before the 2017 Great Plains Conference tournament, Fuelling and the rest of the Wizardz travelled to Indianapolis for the Indy Invite. On the first day of the tournament, Fuelling was on the field. He turned towards receiving the disc and heard a “pop” sound. Fuelling said this was the worst part of his life.

“I was pretty heart broken,” Fuelling said. “I didn’t just miss out on playing ultimate this fall, but I missed out on my summer job. I had to stay home all summer.”

In a research study over injuries pertaining to college ultimate players by Dr. David Swedler, ten men tore ligaments compared to only seven women. This research included over 1,000 ultimate players. With tearing a ligament, Fuelling leaned on other outlets, such as cooking, playing guitar and piano.

Flash forward to the spring 2017-18 season, Fuelling is back on the field. From tearing his ACL, Fuelling said he learned not to take things for granted.

“Go out there and play, like it might be your last point,” Fuelling said. “You never know when your last point is going to be. It [ACL injury] taught me the importance of certain things in my life. I should plan for things going wrong and having other hobbies to fall back on.”

In the 2017-2018 spring season, Fuelling was tied with fellow team captain Nik Risser in assists (8) for the team and obtained a 97 catching percentage. Jaden Jarrett was on the Wizardz squad in the 2017 spring season when Fuelling tore his ACL. He said Fuelling has come a long way from that injury.

“We were all really happy to have him back,” Jarrett said. “He’s did a lot for us in his last season.”

On the team, Fuelling was a captain for three years. From this leadership he has learned that it’s hard to motivate people.

“But I learned a lot about how to teach people and how different people react to different scenarios,” Fuelling said. “I learned how to try and make it so everyone has something they can look forward to with the team.”

As Fuelling looked back on his ultimate career, he said he’s going to miss the family atmosphere of the team.

“I have grown a lot as a person in college and the one constant in my life was always Wizardz ultimate,” Fuelling said. “I will always be grateful that I have had that rock to lean on when things were worst in my life.”

Now as a graduate of Ball State, Fuelling is working at Adventure Links in Clifton, Virginia. At Adventure Links, Fuelling is an instructor and is in charge of team building and outdoor recreation.

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