Entering its game against Minnesota, the Ohio State women’s soccer team had high hopes for its season-opening run. Those high hopes were shattered on one serious play during the seventh minute, when redshirt senior goalkeeper Jillian McVicker tried to make a save.
McVicker collided with a Minnesota player, and sustained fractured ribs, a punctured lung and a lacerated kidney. She was quickly removed from the field and taken to a Minnesota hospital,
where she remained in intensive care for two days before being downgraded to standard care.
“Ohio State senior goalkeeper Jillian McVicker is being held at a Minneapolis hospital through the end of the week for further treatment and testing after suffering an injury Sunday at Minnesota,” the athletic department said in a statement from an OSU spokesperson on Friday.
McVicker has appeared in over 50 matches for the Buckeyes since joining the team in 2012. McVicker is a former assistant sports director for Lantern TV and also reported for The Lantern during the 2016 Spring Semester.
After being released from the hospital on Saturday afternoon, she and her family drove back to Columbus, stopping in Chicago along the way before arriving back at OSU on Monday.
Although not the first time the Metuchen, New Jersey, native has sustained an injury, this time, was different from the rest.
“I knew that it definitely wasn’t my muscle or anything. I just came out, I knew there was going to be a collision but I just had to get the ball,” McVicker said. “When I came out, I thought I had the wind knocked out of me at first, and then I couldn’t breathe for like a minute.”
According to McVicker, her doctor said this type of injury is most common after being involved in a car crash, not with a sport like soccer.
The injury has effectively ended the OSU career of McVicker, with a little over a month left in the regular season. Although her time as a Buckeye athlete has been cut short, she has still maintained a positive attitude and high spirits.
“All the adversity I have faced, whether it be from injury or typical adversity that every athlete goes through, you just have to keep your head up and keep your mind on the process,” McVicker said. “Take it day-by-day and step-by-step. Which is actually very ironic because that’s exactly what I’m doing in my rehab right now.”
As part of the healing process, McVicker can only lift things under 10 pounds, while limiting the amount of overall movement she has throughout the day.
On social media, McVicker has received an outpouring of support from family, friends, teammates, players from other teams and, most notably, former United States Women’s National Team midfielder Julie Foudy.
McVicker, a four-time OSU scholar-athlete and three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, has appeared in over 60 matches during her career with the Buckeyes. She is a double major in strategic communications and journalism, and will be graduating this December.
After graduation and her injuries have fully healed, McVicker has intentions to continue her playing career outside of OSU.
“I definitely want to graduate and want to look at playing overseas in Germany professionally or in America,” McVicker said. “I’m going to probably try to get an agent and figure that out once I graduate. It’s definitely not the last time I’m going to put on my keeper gloves and my jersey again.”
Although she will no longer be lacing up her cleats for the Scarlet and Gray, McVicker said she will be embracing her new role of cheering her team on.
Without the redshirt senior in the net, the Buckeyes will now be looking to the sideline when when she returns. From here on out, the focus of McVicker is to rally the troops to continue the team’s success.
“Although this injury happened to me, my main thing for this season is for my team to be successful,” McVicker said. “Yes, this is horrible and I wouldn’t wish this upon anyone. But at the same time, all of my energy and everything when I get back is to prepare my the team the best I can in my new role.”