Zavitz Continues Courageous Efforts On, Off Soccer Pitch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


by Jeffrey Reed, Editor, LondonOntarioSports.com

There are more tragic things in life than suffering a series of serious sports injuries. But when they greatly affect your quality of life, then it’s time to decide whether or not competing as an elite athlete is in your future.

Chelsea Zavitz, 21, of St. Thomas didn’t think she would have to make that decision at such a young age. But after yet another injury-riddled season on the soccer pitch, the Fanshawe Falcons and FC London midfielder is taking stock of her ailments and pondering a future that does not include the beautiful game.

On paper, Zavitz’s soccer year was bittersweet. The Falcons went undefeated during the OCAA season, thanks largely to scoring sensation Jade Kovacevic, named CCAA player of the year. After winning the Ontario title, they lost their only game, 2-1, to Quebec City’s les Élans de Garneau at the national tournament. Fanshawe captured a disappointing bronze medal with a gutsy 2-1 win over Douglas Royals of Coquitlam, B.C.

Chelsea Zavitz on the pitch with the Fanshawe Falcons. Photo courtesy Falcons Athletics.

And even though she only played in a handful of late-season games with FC London in 2018, Zavitz saw her squad go undefeated during the regular season, only to lose 2-1 to Durham United FA in a League1 Ontario semifinal.

“It was heartbreaking for me and my teammates to go undefeated during both regular seasons, then lose without those championships,” Zavitz said of her double disappointment. “When we lost at CCAAs, we were devastated. But the next day we picked ourselves up and said we were not leaving without the bronze medal.”

Reflecting on her season, Zavitz fell short of stating that she was just happy to have been able to compete again after tearing her medial collateral ligament (MCL) and tibial collateral ligament (TCL) in her right knee, and her right hamstring during a February indoor game with the Falcons.

“I was passing the ball when a girl kicked my foot,” Zavitz explained. “I didn’t have surgery. My anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) was fine, and we thought it was just my MCL. But I kept complaining about knee pain, and an MRI revealed the TCL injury. But it was too late for surgery because the MCL was halfway healed.”

Fanshawe Falcons women’s soccer team with OCAA championship banner. Photo: Falcons Facebook.

Showing her grit, Zavitz was back training in June and returned to the pitch in July. Her return to FC London gave a star-laden squad an extra boost as they finished the season. And as a steadying force on and off the field with the Falcons, Zavitz relied on her quiet leadership skills to help Fanshawe win Ontario gold and national bronze.

With a 2018 season like Zavitz’s, it’s easy to see why LondonOntarioSports.com presented her with the inaugural Jeffrey Reed Courage Award in 2016. The award is presented to an area athlete, amateur or professional, who has demonstrated courage on and off the playing field.

Zavitz has suffered multiple concussions, including a devastating head injury in 2014, and continues to live with lingering effects of her head injuries. Whenever she hasn’t been able to compete, she has coached and mentored young women in basketball, hockey and soccer. Today, she is an advocate for concussion awareness.

A former Windsor Lancers soccer player, Zavitz will soon graduate with a Business diploma, and plans to return to Fanshawe to study in the Project Management program and to play another year of college soccer. In July, she was named an OCAA All-Academic student athlete.

2016 Jeffrey Reed Courage Award winner Chelsea Zavitz with her parents, and (far left) LondonOntarioSports.com’s Jeffrey and Elizabeth Reed

“Soccer depends on whether or not I suffer any more serious injuries,” she said. “If I do, then I may not continue to play. That would be a very difficult decision. But even if I retire, I will always be busy with something.

“I would certainly miss playing for Fanshawe, though, because the school treats its athletes very well, and it’s greatly appreciated. It has been a lot of fun.”

2019 Jeffrey Reed Courage Award
Nominations are now open for the 4th annual Jeffrey Reed Courage Award. Athletes must write a 1,000-word essay to nominate themselves. The winner receives $1,000 and a commemorative plaque at the LondonOntarioSports.com annual banquet.
For details, visit here.

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Jeffrey Reed is Southwestern Ontario’s senior sportswriter and publisher/editor of award-winning LondonOntarioSports.com and LondonOntarioGolf.com. Contact him at jeff@londonontariosports.com.

 

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About jeffreyreed

A leading Canadian communications professional. Corporate office http://www.JeffreyReedReporting.com established 1989. Publisher/Editor of this website and https://londonontariogolf.com.

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