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. During the 2016-17 season, Fuelling tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) at one of the ultimate frisbee tournaments.

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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 at the  Indy Invite. 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 on offense. He turned toward the disc and heard a “pop” sound. receiving the disc and heard a “pop” sound. Fuelling said tearing his ACL was the worst part in his ultimate frisbee career.

“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, 10 men tore ligaments in comparison to seven women with the research including more than 1,000 ultimate frisbee players. Fuelling said he learned on other outlets, such as cooking, playing guitar and piano when he tore his ACL.

In the spring 2017-18 season, Fuelling returned to play ultimate with the Wizardz. He said he learned to to take things for granted with his injury.

“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 with eight and had a 97 catching percentage. Jade Jarrett, a fellow teammate, was part of the 2016 team when Fuelling tor his ACL. Jarrett said Fuelling has come a long way from his injury.

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

Fuelling was a captain for the Wizardz for three years. He said he learned from being a team captain that it’s hard to motivate players.

“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 Wizardz.

“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 bad 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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