Junior two-meter defender played full season with meniscus tear
Before this season, Brady Hoskins hadn’t played a full season of water polo in his college career. Every season, the junior two-meter defender has dealt with a new injury, often forcing him out of the water.
During his freshman year, Hoskins lacerated his spleen and spent most of the season in the intensive care unit and on the bench, he said. By his sophomore year, he was ready to get back in the pool – until he herniated a disk in his back.
The third time wasn’t the charm for Hoskins this season. He felt his knee pop during a game this year, and the initial pain only intensified. He’d torn his meniscus, a potentially season-ending injury. However, Hoskins played through the injury for the entire season.
“There have definitely been a few occasions when I thought about taking a break from water polo, when I woke up and couldn’t get out of bed,” Hoskins said before the season ended. “But, you know, there is only a week and a half left (in the season), so I want to finish it off, finish a complete season finally.”
Hoskins fulfilled his goal and played through his meniscus injury, until the water polo season ended on Nov. 17 in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference semifinals against Whittier College.
“I thought about taking a break from water polo when I woke up and couldn’t get out of bed.”
“He’s an athlete. Athletes, we do (fight through the pain) sometimes,” said head coach Eric Ploessel. “Back in the days when I was playing, concussions weren’t as big as now, and we played with concussions and through broken hands. Sometimes, that’s what we do, because we love the sport. We don’t want to be out. It hurts us.”
Hoskins didn’t think he would be able to play through the pain without a little help.
“It’s pretty painful,” Hoskins said. “Luckily, you get enough adrenaline from the game – you don’t really feel it too much. Plus, our athletic trainers are phenomenal and they are doing a lot to keep me in the game.”
Ashley Raciak, a certified athletic trainer at Chapman and Colin Bernstein, a graduate student assisting with the athletic training department, worked with Hoskins while he dealt with his injuries, Hoskins said.
“You almost have to forget about it and tell yourself you’re not injured,” Hoskins said. “It definitely affects me in the water, because you use your legs so much in water polo. Playing with one leg is not ideal. You can kind of feel it, but you have to keep telling yourself it’s only 32 short minutes.”
Hoskins said that he plays for his team and for his family, but his ability to to get through a game doesn’t come without sacrifice.
Throughout college career, Hoskins’s pain tolerance has increased, he said.
“I just try and strengthen the ligaments and the muscles around my knee, but other than that, it’s all just playing with the pain tolerance,” Hoskins said.
Hoskins’s injuries have affected team members, because they had to sometimes practice and play without him – a “key” player – Ploessel said.
“We’ve just been dealing with it for the past three years,” Ploessel said. “Sometimes, I’ve kept him out for a game or two just to give him extra rest, so he’s not playing every single game.”
Hoskins was first introduced to Chapman by his older sister Emmy, a ‘17 alumna. He said it became an obvious choice when he was looking at schools.
“I just fell in love with the school, to see how close-knit the team was awesome to me,” he said.
Still, Hoskins’s injuries have made his college experience less than ideal. Getting to class from his house on crutches can take 30 to 40 minutes, but it is something he has learned to deal with, he said.
“I wouldn’t change my experience,” Hoskins said. “I think it’s honestly the team, you have this real sense of brotherhood, especially on our team. I know I’m going to be friends with these guys way past college.”