It looked like a dark day in Alexis Bower's life.
It happened during a junior varsity basketball game. The hard-working Williamsport player felt a pop in her leg and knew immediately something wasn't right.
Bower and her family eventually learned that the pop meant a torn ACL. And, if Bower had any hopes of returning to the field, it meant a long stint in rehab working to regain her trust in her leg before the injury.
Alexis Bower of Williamsport, front middle, signs a letter of intent to play softball at St. Francis (Pa.). At left is father and head coach Quint and at right mother Tricia. In back are WHS?athletic director Sean McCann, Razorbacks club team coach Jere Flick, and WHS?principal Mike Reed.
But during that dark period Bower realized she wanted to help people get through devastating injuries. And because of this passion Bower, who worked through rehab to become Williamsport's softball pitching ace over the last two years, has come full circle. She recently signed a letter of intent to play softball and take up occupational therapy at Saint Francis University.
"I was really interested in physical therapy after I got hurt my ninth-grade year," Bower said. "I looked beyond that and got to shadow some occupational therapist and really liked it a lot."
Now signed and ready to go, Bower, a two-time all-state selection and last year's player of the year in the state, has just her classes and sport to focus on as she completes the final months of her high school career.
"It's a whole lift off my shoulders," Bower said. "Going into my senior year I'm excited for the season, we basically have the entire team back."
"Now she can go out and play without any pressure," Williamsport coach Quint Bower said. "We know she is going to a good school and into a great academic program."
Alexis Bower's decision was sparked after a visit to the campus. She spent time with the softball team and was introduced to professors in her program.
"They all just treated me like I was one of them," Alexis Bower said of the Saint Francis softball team on her visit to the campus. "They looked after me and were really nice. It was really great."
St. Francis was 22-26 in 2012 and 9-11 in the Northeast Conference. Bower's future teammates would include Brooke Koch, a former Jersey Shore pitcher, and Muncy's Hannah Cole.
"It was a mixture of looking at different colleges and Alexis knowing she wanted to possibly play Division I softball," said Trisha Bower, Alexis's mother. "When we looked at Saint Francis we felt they had a really great program. They were able to allow her to play softball for four years and become an occupational therapist and that was critical."