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Making goals and hitting her strideCara Siegel soccer trick

With the help of Parkview Medical Center and Dr. Lucas King, Cara Siegel helps push the tempo for CSU-Pueblo Women’s soccer.

Imagine having to choose between surgery or giving up a game you’ve loved and played since you were a toddler.

For Cara Siegel, there was never really a choice and Parkview Medical Center was there to help keep her athletic career alive and kicking.

“I started doing soccer when I was 4 years old,” Cara said. “Soccer was my first love and the sport I’m best at. A lot of people think that it’s not that challenging. But it’s a tactical and mental game at the same time, especially when you’re on this level.”

Cara is a starting outside midfielder for the Colorado State University-Pueblo women’s soccer team. Cara was originally recruited as a forward but was put into the midfield position shortly into her freshman year with the Thunderwolves.

Midfielders bridge the gap between attacking forwards and defenders in the backfield near the goal. They help get the attack on offense started and they run and run and run.

“We play offense and defense,” Cara said. “We’re basically the mule horses of the team.”

But the transition from playing three sports in high school to specializing in one brought an unanticipated challenge to the then-freshman.

Cara SiegelShe developed compartment syndrome in her lower legs, a condition where her muscles built up pressure in the fibrous tissue compartments that hold them in place.

The condition was extremely painful.

“What it felt like was me getting stabbed repeatedly in the leg,” Cara said. “I would start a game and last 12 minutes, max.”

Her trainers and Dr. Lucas King, orthopedic surgeon with Parkview Orthopedics, told her that the emergence of compartment syndrome was likely due to the repetitive movements demanded of her position on the team. In high school, her athletic career was diversified. She played soccer, but also volleyball and basketball. Each sport required a different kind of movement; running, jumping, stopping and starting.

Cara said she was referred to Dr. King because he volunteers his expertise as one of CSU-Pueblo’s sideline physicians. He specializes in sports medicine, having studied at the prestigious American Sports Medicine Institute under renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews.

Cara said she was also comfortable going to Dr. King because he had completed an ankle surgery on another Pueblo athlete, MaLeigha Menegatti, who went on to set personal records in track at Idaho State University.

Cara said Dr. King made her feel completely at ease and explained the procedure with clarity.

Cara Siegel

The procedure would relieve the pressure but would also put her out of commission for a while.

“Getting to be a started my freshman year was amazing and getting compartment syndrome all that came crashing down,” Cara said.

She said she was told the only treatment was surgery or giving up soccer, so the decision was quick and easy.

Recovery from the surgery lasted about three months. The July before her sophomore year, Cara started weight training and the slowly worked her way up to running and eventually shooting the ball.

She played a full season her sophomore year, scoring three goals and racking up two assists.

“Honestly it was amazing to go into a game and not ask for a sub,” she said.

Cara said her legs are still a little tired but that Dr. King assured her things will only improve.

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