Norwin’s Savannah Schneck impresses by returning to court after tearing left ACL twice

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Saturday, January 14, 2023 | 5:26 PM


Savannah Schneck lost her sophomore and junior basketball seasons, and she never will get them back.

She spent the better part of 19 months rehabbing an ACL that she tore, had repaired then tore again.

Some players never recover from knee injuries like that. But Schneck isn’t some player. She did it twice. Same left knee. Same agonizing process.

And yet, oddly, she will tell you — straight-faced and confidently — she wouldn’t change a thing.

“It gave me a new outlook and made me stronger,” the Norwin senior basketball player said. “I’ll be honest, it really freaked me out. But I figured God wouldn’t give me something I couldn’t handle.”

Now back healthy and wearing a bright pink knee brace to protect the investment she worked so tirelessly to save, Schneck is a key reserve for the Knights, who are ranked No. 1 in WPIAL Class 6A.

“This team has so many sparks, and Sav is one of them,” Norwin coach Brian Brozeski said. “She has impressed all of us by coming back the way she did. “

Schneck was first injured in 2021.

“It was Feb. 16, after the Penn-Trafford game,” she said. “We were running a drill at practice, and it just happened.”

Nine months later, after surgery and rehab, she was primed to get her junior season going when it happened again.

“We were 27 days into the season, scrimmaging Latrobe,” Schneck said. “I knew when it happened. I knew what it felt like. But I didn’t tell anyone. I didn’t tell my mom. I didn’t want to shake everyone up. I was shaken up enough.”

But the truth came out as the pain, physical and emotional, set in again.

“I thought about going through it once and thought, what can happen happened,” she said. “I felt like I was ready for it. It wasn’t easy, but I knew what to expect.

“I have had such a great support system. My trainers here (Dave and Angie Snowberger) have been amazing. I have become so close with my surgeon and therapist. I babysit my surgeon’s kids.”

In her first game back this season, Norwin alum Nick Fleming was a referee. Savannah dates his brother, Michael.

“I am so close with their family, so it was great having Nick there,” she said. “It made me more comfortable.”

Schneck connected on a 3-pointer from the wing against North Allegheny in a recent win and ran back to the huddle as the Tigers tried to cool Norwin down with a timeout. Her face was framed in a wide smile, her eyes bright with excitement.

She screamed, “Let’s go!” and looked briefly like the freeze-framed photo of herself — with a fired-up expression and fists in the air — on her senior banner above the doorway in the Norwin gym.

Yeah, returning to the court has been like that. Two years of pent-up frustration is bursting from the 5-foot-9 swing guard.

“People who get ACL tears ask me what it’s like, but I don’t always think I can tell them exactly,” Schneck said. “It’s an injury that is very personal to people. Everyone experiences it differently.

“I just know if you can persevere through this, you can do anything.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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