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'I knew exactly what happened': Gonzaga alum Katie Campbell tears ACL for second time in 16 months

Campbell was just weeks away from playing professional basketball.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Katie Campbell has had a whirlwind 16 months. 

In February of 2020, she tore her ACL, ending her Gonzaga career. In May of 2020, she found out she was pregnant. Three weeks after she gave birth this year, she started training to play professional basketball.

Then three weeks ago her world stopped again.

“Right when I did the same exact move as I did at Gonzaga, my knee went out the same exact way. I fell to the floor, and I knew exactly what happened,” said Katie of tearing her ACL for a second time.

This tear was even more severe than the last for Campbell.

“I was just screaming. It took me right back to BYU," Katie said of the game she tore her ACL in the first time. "I told everyone I tore it. This time it was a lot more painful. I completely tore my ACL off the bone. It was held in by bolts or screws, and I completely tore it off the screws.”

Campbell was also just steps away from her dream. 

If she hadn’t have torn her ACL, she’d be playing professional basketball in St. Louis right now.

“I was like, ‘God, I was so close again.’ Two weeks away. I was just... sad,” said Campbell, who also says that she still wants to try playing professionally.

An already tough situation got even worse though once insurance entered the picture. 

Campbell had been going to a surgeon who had stellar reviews and who she was very comfortable with. Then she found out that that surgeon was not covered by her insurance. 

Determined to get the care she wanted, especially since it was determined that her knee didn't fully heal after her first tear, Katie set up a GoFundMe to help pay for the surgery. 

That’s when Gonzaga fans stepped up.

“When I saw that a lot of people started supporting, I wanted to cry. I felt like I wasn’t deserving almost. Like, 'Wow, some of the people don’t even know me, and they’re giving me money to help me pay for this?' It was very overwhelming with joy," said Katie. "I check it all the time. I’m like, ‘Dad, now it’s up to this.’”

Katie is hopeful that she’ll get a referral from a physician to the surgeon of her choice, meaning her insurance will pay for the surgery. She expects to find that out on Monday, but nothing is guaranteed. 

If that happens though, she wants to make one thing clear to those who have donated.

“I haven’t withdrawn any money.  I haven’t set up my bank account. If it gets covered, all will go back,” said Campbell.

No matter what happens though, this whole experience has reminded Katie what it’s like to be a part of the Gonzaga community, and she is forever grateful.

“It feels just amazing. That’s one of the reasons I chose Gonzaga was the crowd and the family atmosphere. The clichés you hear about Gonzaga, but it really is true. It really lives up to its name right now,” said Katie.

You can donate to Katie Campbell's GoFundMe here.

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