“My name is Madeline Schroepfer, I’m a senior, Pre-Physical Therapy Major, and a Women’s Basketball Player here at SNU.
I’m originally from St. Louis, Missouri and moved to Rockwall, TX when I was five.
Growing up my select soccer team was a big part of my life; I loved it more than anything. I played with same girls from the time we were five all the way up to 15-16 years old, they became part of my family. I’ve always been a rule follower and a “straight laced” kind of girl. For the longest time, I lived as if my faith was defined by how well I could live by walking the “straight and narrow.” When one of my teammates tragically passed away at the age of 16, my view on faith changed forever. I began to think, the purpose of my faith was not a list of “dos” and “don’ts.” Rather we are to take initiative to never pass up an opportunity to listen, speak life, and be joy to the people you come in contact with. You never know what tomorrow may or may not bring.
I’ve spoke on my love of soccer, but my dad loved basketball. If you know me, you know that I have an extremely competitive nature. So initially, I began playing because I wanted to be better than my brother and I desired to please my dad. I’m also 5’5, so I always enjoyed the challenge of overcoming the stereotype of being “too small” to play. Little did I know, that it was this sport that would challenge me and shape my life in ways unimaginable.
My Junior year, I tore my ACL. I was angry with God and questioned why he’d allow this happen to me. Not only was this time of physical pain but emotional and spiritual conflict as well.
I came to the stark realization, the only basis of many of my friendships was my athletic status. I was scared, broken, and at a place where my thoughts of negativity and hurt took over my mind. To my friends and even my family I had always been the “strong one.” I was so resistant to open up about my struggle. One night, with my leg all braced up interrupting my sleep for another night, I broke down. Me, Madeline, who does not cry, could no longer hold my pain inside. I was desperately trying to understand my situation and in that moment (it sounds cliche and crazy), but I just felt the Holy Spirit. After that night, I saw that I was not, we are not, meant to carry burdens alone.
During my 5 1/2 months of therapy, there was one person who was always in my corner: my physical therapist. He believed in me more than I believed in myself and pushed me further than I knew I could go. I fell in love with the atmosphere. I realized I was truly happy for the first time in a long time and the crazy thing is I wasn’t even playing sports. Suddenly, I knew this is what I was called to do and there was purpose in my injury. Not only was God giving me a wake up call that I was more than an athlete, but I believe He knew physical therapy was the passion I would pursue for the rest of my life.
So why PT you ask? I didn’t just choose this field of study because of my experience with injury like some might assume. Besides the fact that I’m a total anatomy nerd, I chose this because of the potential it brings to love and care for people beyond the physical injury. My dream is to get to know my patients’ stories and to literally be there every step of their journey to recovery. SNU has given be me the ability to play the sport I love, build lasting relationships and has provided me the curriculum and learning experiences I need to be successful in life after college.”
photo credit: Parker Whitson// SNU Creative Intern