Injuries are part of the game. It’s the worse part of the game, but still a major part. Talk to any athlete and they will honestly tell you that they haven’t gone an entire career without playing through some type of injury.
Injuries aren’t fun, and some are more severe than others. Concussions and torn ACL’s are the ones that get talked about the most. Concussions, lately, are the ones that are getting the most press. Professional all the way down to high schools are doing everything they can to try and prevent head injuries.
But, that’s easier said than done. Most sports are contact sports. Football, soccer and hockey, to name few, have contact on almost every play. You can try your best to limit contact, but at the end of the day it’s still going to be there. Athletes just have to know when is enough and take themselves out of the game before they really get hurt.
Buffalo State College senior Madeline Kromer knows a few things about injuries. Last year, Kromer partially re-tore her ACL, and this year she had to deal with a concussion early on and missed about a month. But, she is a hockey player and is used to playing with some sort of pain.
That’s what athletes do – they play through anything.
With her concussion, however, she had to take time off. She couldn’t get back on the ice until she was cleared for contact by the doctors. This gave Kromer a chance to help the younger players on the team get accustomed with the college game.
She went from student to teacher.
“This season I was out for a month with a concussion, I felt that during preseason I wanted to show the lowerclassmen that you have to work hard all the time. I wanted to prove myself in the offseason and I felt that I did,” stated Kromer. “During the time I was out, I took the time to take care of myself to get better and felt that I took the time to make sure that I was around enough to show that I was doing what it took to get better. Now that being back 100 percent, I feel that I can step up and show my teammates that I am willing to do anything it takes to make the team better.”
Make no bones about it, Kromer is a very important part of the Bengals’ hockey team. She is a steady force on the blueline and is looked upon to be a leader. Not many players want to play defense growing up, but Kromer embraced the challenge and is now a key member of the Bengals squad.
Her work ethic is second to none, and she has made too not rest on past accomplishments, but instead to continue to move forward and get better.
“When I first started playing, I always had a good shot and my first coach thought I would be a good defenseman. I always felt that I could skate well backwards when I first started and considered playing defense growing up,” stated Kromer. “I feel that I see the ice very well. I will say that I don’t think I am a practice player, but when I am in a game I feel that I can place the puck very well for my teammates. I am not afraid to move people from in front of our net and that I feel that I can communicate well with my teammates because I see the whole ice from behind the play.”
You could almost say that Kromer on the ice is like the major that she is studying – mechanical. Not in the sense that she is a robot on the ice, but that she is always thinking. Kromer is out there making sure she is making the right pass – and always clearing out the front of the net.
It’s all in a day’s work for the mechanical engineer by day and hockey defenseman by night.
“Going for mechanical engineering you have so many different options you can go into after school. Each company has a different job for a mechanical engineer and finding one that will fit will take some time,” stated Kromer. “I would like to attend graduate school for my masters for mechanical engineering, from there I feel I will have a lot of options and opportunities that will come to me.”
Many opportunities will come in life and she will have two families that will support her. She has her regular family, and now her hockey family.
Her hockey family is a tight knit group of young ladies. They are there to pick each other up when the other falls. They are for each other during the good times and the bad.
“My team now is my family. I live with two other teammates and each day there is always a teammate that gets down on themselves or has a bad day,” stated Kromer. “I feel that I can always be there for any of my teammates. No matter how hard the situation or what is going on in my life I feel that I can pick up my teammates. No one is perfect but always having an attitude that shows that you care for your teammates I think means a lot to the others around me.”
Funny how things work out. When it was time to look at colleges, Kromer didn’t even have Buffalo State high on her list. Of course she knew about the school, after all her mom graduated from the school. But, the school was just never on her radar.
Kromer always thought she would go away for school. Get out of Western New York and experience what college had to offer. Somehow it didn’t work out that way. Maybe it was her mom’s influence after all. Now, four years later, Kromer feels going to Buffalo State was the best decision she ever made.
“Being very honest nothing ever drew me to Buffalo State growing up. Even with my mom graduating from Buffalo State, I never felt that I would go to the same school as her. Originally I felt I wanted to be at a school far away from my hometown, but now I am thankful that I stayed close,” explained Kromer. “I would always pass the towers on the Scajaquada Expressway and I always said I always hated the look of them and that I would never go to school here. One day in the fall of my senior year my mom pulled me out of school and decided to do a tour of campus. She told me to give it a shot and just look around the campus, turns out I actually liked campus. I always say now don’t judge a book by its cover because I did until I stepped foot in campus.”