In her junior year at Woodrow Wilson Classical High School, Tyra Monette had a lot going for her. Always one to strive for success, she made sure to challenge herself both in and out of school. Not only was she an honor roll student with a 4.16 grade point average (GPA), she also was one of the star players on Wilson’s varsity girls basketball team.
Since she was old enough to hold a basketball, Tyra had a passion for playing the game. Throughout her elementary and middle school years Tyra tirelessly practiced and improved her game. When she reached the high school level, Tyra was able to make the varsity team and continued playing the game she loved.
A few games into her junior season playing for the Wilson Bruins, Tyra injured her knee. After a quick examination from the team’s trainer it was determined that she should sit out the rest of the game. Tyra paid a visit to her primary care physician who advised her to take a couple months off and rest her knee before attempting to play again. Not taking this news lightly, Tyra knew it was her best bet if she wanted to prevent any serious injuries. A couple of months later Tyra felt better and was back on the court with her team.
The second time Tyra had a mishap on the court, she was not so lucky. On Feb. 1, 2013 Tyra was streaking down the court on a fast break and took a shot that would change her life. While she was in the air a member from the opposing team crashed into her in an attempt to block the shot and when Tyra came down awkwardly on her knee.
“When I felt that pain it was so terrible, I didn’t even know what to do,” says Tyra. “I laid there on the ground looking up at the ceiling and gym lights until the game stopped. All I was thinking is, ‘This can’t be happening right now.’ After trying to stand up, I felt the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life and I immediately started crying as I was carried off of the court. At that moment I realized that the season was over for me.”
As soon as possible, Tyra made sure to visit a doctor, she knew this was something much worse and needed an expert. Tyra’s mother, Loretta, brought her to see Kenneth Huh, M.D., pediatric orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist, Pediatric Orthopedic Center, Miller Children’s, who ordered an MRI, which showed a complete tear of her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), as well as a tear of her medial meniscus.
“After diagnosing the complete ACL tear, in addition to the meniscal tear, it was crucial that I take Tyra in for surgery to correctly treat her injuries,” says Dr. Huh. “Using one of her own hamstring ligaments I was able to repair her ACL and then I stitched up her meniscus so that it would heal properly.”
After her surgery, Tyra received eight months of physical therapy to completely regain her motion and strength in her knee. Tyra knew that the only way she would ever play basketball competitively again was to remain diligent about her therapy and make sure she did everything she could to regain all of her strength.
Tyra was able to maintain her high GPA, while she was out of school recovering, and returned to school early to take her advanced placement tests. “I really wanted that college credit,” says Tyra. Although Tyra remained on the basketball team, her injury and subsequent recovery process left her unable to play for most of her senior year. However, in the last eight games of her senior season, Tyra made a triumphant comeback to finish her high school career with her team.
After graduating from high school, Tyra was accepted to her school of choice the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She is currently enrolled in the summer program for incoming freshman and has declared her major in psychology.
“I have dreams of becoming an FBI agent someday, but I’ll never stop wanting to play basketball,”
says Tyra. “Once tryouts are open for the women’s basketball team at UCLA I’m definitely going to give it a shot. I want to make sure that my injury doesn’t hold me back from doing what I love.”