Varsity athlete Ella Sebek tears ACL


Photo provided by Ella Sebek

RECOVERING: Junior Ella Sebek rests after ACL surgery with ice cream and friends.

Julia Hanson, Staff Writer

After an already unusual season, varsity basketball player Ella Sebek faced an injury that kept her out for the last few games. Sebek is a junior but has had a role on the varsity girls basketball team since freshman year. The March 2 game at Hinsdale Central ended in a win for the Trojans but a torn ACL for Sebek. As a longtime player on the court, Sebek and the team were forced to make adjustments. 

The Trojans were down 4-6 at Hinsdale Central with just over three minutes left in the first quarter. Sebek made a fast break, ending with her on the ground and a foul. As someone who often falls and gets back up, this play was clearly serious. 

“Honestly, my immediate reaction was that it was a bad injury,” head coach Stephen Bolt said. “I know how tough Sebek is both physically and mentally, so seeing her have to be helped off the court let me know it was significant.” 

Sebek’s role on and off the court is important to the team’s success. Her skills and grit are valued by her teammates and reflected in each game. In just one game this season, Sebek scored 14 points at home against Hinsdale Central.

“Ella is like the glue to our team. She is by far our toughest and most energetic defender and player. We have to finish this season strong for her,” teammate Ryann Wendt said. 

The team had to adapt to the loss of a valuable player. Sebek got pulled up to varsity during her freshman year and has been dedicated since. Players kept a positive attitude for their injured teammate who misses the game. 

We definitely miss Ella’s tenacity and ability to make big plays on both offense and defense,” Bolt said. “She plays significant minutes, so other players will really need to step up to fill her shoes.”

Sebek has not just played for DGN, but grew up with basketball since she was five years old. This recent injury is not only devastating for Sebek, but a major lifestyle change. 

“My relationship with basketball is unbreakable. It’s a distraction for when I am not feeling the best or don’t have the right mindset,” said Sebek. 

As a seasoned member of the team, teammates have created friendships with Sebek and admire her as a person and player. Sebek and Wendt have been playing basketball together since fourth grade and have created a bond over the years. 

“You can always count on Ella to be doing the right thing,” Wendt said. “She is one of the nicest and most positive people I know.” 

Bolt has gotten to know Sebek over the past three years and knows her as a driven and committed player.

“Ella is the type of player that would run through a wall if you asked her to,” Bolt said. “She is always lifting up her teammates, and putting them first.”

As for returning to the game, Sebek ACL reconstruction surgery March 19. She hopes to make a full recovery for her AAU team, PWP, by this coming fall. 

“Ella is definitely a key player to our AAU team. I think once she grinds through physical therapy she’ll be back to playing great and showcasing her talent,” Glenbard South junior Gianna Coluzzi said. 

After surgery, Sebek is getting through the pain with rest and visitors. She is doing her best to ease her leg back into function with physical therapy. 

“The days following surgery were definitely painful,” Sebek said. “After my first physical therapy appointment, I am able to bend my knee a little and am trying to walk without crutches,” 

As a multisport athlete, basketball is not the only season Sebek will be out for. Throughout her time at DGN, Sebek has also played volleyball and still currently throws for the track and field team. 

Word spreads pretty fast, and my track coaches also reached out to me. With last year’s track season, I didn’t even get to compete in one meet due to COVID. Now, missing another whole season is unspeakable,” Sebek said. “The love and support from the coaches is really something that will stick with me forever.”

Although Sebek has been faced with this setback, coaches and teammates at DGN know her to be a resilient athlete who can bounce back from this obstacle. From being a major player to a temporary cheerleader, Sebek’s love for the game is just as strong. 

“Even though I cannot compete with the team, I will be supporting them through it all. I am a part of this team and I will keep it like that,” Sebek said.