April 9, 2012
After suffering an injury, some athletes have their career hopes shattered. For many of these athletes, their injuries become what define them in the eyes of the public, and their former achievements are overlooked. Angelica Howard has worked throughout her college career to ensure that people remember her as an athlete who was able to overcome injury and recapture success.
Howard, a thrower for UA’s women’s track and field team, suffered a back injury during her sophomore year, and was faced with the scary reality of possibly being unable to compete in the sport she loves.
“I herniated a disk in my back, and even with Cortisone shots, the pain kept getting worse,” Howard said. “I had my first back surgery in February of 2010, and I spent the next few months rehabbing my back, only to re-herniate it during our summer workouts.”
Howard says that she has suffered numerous injuries during her high school and college years, but that she was especially anxious to get back into the ring following this particular injury.
“Before I hurt my back, I had just come off of an SEC Championship in the hammer throw,” Howard said. “I was very anxious to get back into everything.”
This past year’s indoor track and field season was Howard’s first since her injury, and she wasted no time getting back into the spotlight.
“I finished this indoor season ranked third in the SEC and ranked in the top 20 in the nation. I also threw a new personal best at every track meet,” Howard said.
In addition to her SEC Championship win during her sophomore year, Howard says that her favorite career moment thus far has been her experience at this year’s SEC Indoor Championships. After starting off in seventh place before the weight throw finals, Howard threw a new personal best on her last throw and to move all the way into third.
“My coach came up to me and asked, ‘What is the legacy that you want to leave at Alabama?’” Howard said. “This question really hit home to me and I knew that I wanted to leave a great legacy and end my season knowing that I gave it my all.”
Howard says that it’s her coach, Doug Reynolds, who’s inspired her the most this season.
“I’ve never had a coach that’s been this supportive, excited and nurturing,” Howard said. “Coach Reynolds makes it easier for me to succeed, and he’s given me back a fire that I haven’t had in a long time.”
Other than performing well during the outdoor track and field season, Howard hopes to one day make it on the U.S Olympic Track and Field team.
“I definitely want to go to the Olympics, and I’m optimistic that I can make it to the trials if I can perform well in the rest of our meets this season,” she said.
Along with her dreams of competing in the Olympics, Howard, a December 2011 graduate, also hopes to one-day work as a producer for a major television network.
“Ultimately I’d love to work for a major network,” Howard said. “As for my immediate future, I hope to find work with a local news station or company where I can be a communicator and work with people in sports.”
For now, Howard’s main focus is on performing well during the rest of her final outdoor track and field season. She hopes that people will remember her for her resilient attitude and unwillingness to fail.
“I’ve had some kind of injury every other year since high school, and I always find a way to come back,” she added. “Injury doesn’t define me and I’m not scared to get injured because I know what it takes to fix it. I want people to remember that I had the will power to get through my injuries. My attitude has always been, ‘It doesn’t have to stay broken. Let’s find a way to fix it.’”