Quador can (literally) feel Vanatta’s pain

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By Dan Johnson

Jessica Quador wasn’t exactly sure why her legs bothered her every time she played soccer.

At first she thought the pain was due to a history of ankle injuries – ones that would require Quador to heavily tape both ankles before each game.

After graduating from Chatfield Senior High School in 2006, Quador attended the University of Colorado and, as a freshman, earned solid playing minutes. But, it all came with a price.

The pain in her legs refused to go away. After consulting with her doctor, it was determined that Compartment Syndrome was the cause of the discomfort Quador would feel on the pitch.

According the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, Compartment Syndrome is a painful condition that results when pressure within the muscles builds to dangerous levels. This prevents nourishment from reaching nerve and muscle cells. Compartment Syndrome is becoming a common injury amongst athletes that do a lot of running. To relieve the pressure, surgery is required.

Despite the immense pain in her legs, Quador continued to play, and play well, for the Buffaloes that freshman season. In a game against Texas, Quador recalls just falling to ground after losing the feeling in her right leg.

“I had been doing a lot of extra training on my right leg to try and make it stronger because I was overcompensating for my left leg hurting all the time,” said Quador, who starred on the Chatfield girls soccer team as a defender. “That moment, I was like, ‘Was it all worth it what I was putting myself through?’”

Quador credits her teammates for helping her persevere. She managed to complete the season, helping guide the Buffaloes into the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Once the season was over, Quador finally had the surgery.

“My freshman season was definitely a Cinderella season for me and I’m glad I went through it,” Quador said last week while home on Spring Break. “A lot of college athletes have bumps and bruises and play through it because they love the sport so much.”

She endured more than two months of rehabilitation exercise before being cleared to resume playing soccer – which she did come her sophomore year.

After her sophomore year, Quador transferred to the University of New Mexico and again began to experience the pain she knew all too well. In June 2008, she had her second surgery to release the compartments in her legs.

Quador was hoping it’d be the last time she’d go under the knife, but it wasn’t. After playing another season, Quador will have her third surgery in a few weeks.

The procedure has gotten to be old hat for Quador; but, there’s one part she never looks forward to – the scars.

“The scars aren’t very attractive on the legs,” said Quador, with a laugh.

While the surgeries and recoveries have been challenging, Quador, who typically keeps an upbeat attitude, doesn’t feel bad – aside from the scars – about what’s she’s been through and has advice for those (including Kaitie Vanatta, a senior at Dakota Ridge High School who just had her first Compartment Syndrome-related surgery) suffering with Compartment Syndrome.

“I was really upset at the scars because they are big and girls worry about that,” Quador said. “Don’t worry about what it looks like. It will get fixed; it might take a few times but it will get better.”

Dan Johnson is the Sports Editor for Evergreen Newspapers. Contact him at 303-933-2233, ext. 15 or by e-mail at sports@evergreenco.com