Athlete Spotlight: Alex Otto

Posted 2/19/2015 in Athlete Spotlight | 1063 view(s) | 0 comment(s)

Athlete Spotlight
Alex Otto
Collegiate soccer player 
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Alex Otto, Hinsdale native and Hinsdale Central graduate, is currently a freshmen soccer player at University of Alabama at Birmingham. She has dealt with a myriad of injuries throughout her career but attributes strength training and physical therapy as the key to prevention. She is currently battling shin splints and chronic low back pain. The injuries slow her down in practice and training but with physical therapy at Achieve Orthopedic Rehab Institute and rehab at school, she manages to continue training at a high level of intensity.

Chronic injuries, like her low back pain, are hard to avoid in collegiate athletes. The high intensity practices and the frequency of training can often lead to these overuse injuries. Alex has been able to find a combination of treatment and training to allow her to continuous perform at her highest capacity.

This is important since Alex has had enough adversity to overcome while playing soccer. She has always had to prove herself to every coach, from club to college. In high school she made JV her junior year but knew she could do better. She went to extra practices and did strength training on her own (even gave up her spring break) in order to improve and show the coach she deserved to be on varsity. It paid off when in the same year, her team made it to the state finals and she scored in the super sectional game.

Her improved performance also paid off when it came time to choose a college. After ruling out Boston University and Colorado State, Alex considered University of Chicago. It was a contender but the time commitment academically would have left her little time outside of school and soccer. Her other top choices were Bard College, Elmhurst College and of course UAB which she chose based on their highly ranked physical therapy program, soccer coach and the atmosphere of campus.

After going through the whole recruitment process, Alex learned what she would have done differently. Because she was the oldest, her parents had no idea when recruitment began so she says starting early is important. As freshman and sophomores, athletes should email coaches at schools they are interested in then, keep options open to many schools. The list will dwindle down over time. She also knows firsthand that even as a junior or senior, it’s never too late to decide on playing in college as long as you work hard and keep in contact with those colleges you want. She didn’t commit until the summer before her senior year!

Now that Alex is a collegiate soccer player, she has a plethora of wisdom to bestow on younger athletes. Firstly, never getting discouraged is important to being successful. Second, If an individual is passionate about soccer (or any sport), it is important to stay passionate. And finally, you can physically work through anything, but you have to stay mentally strong to overcome adversity.

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