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May 1, 2013

Severe concussion, broken vertebrae can't defeat North Andover's Guthrie

Severe concussion, broken vertebrae can't defeat North Andover's Guthrie

NORTH ANDOVER — On the right day, when the headaches subside and the back pain relaxes long enough, life seems to be returning to normal for Mikayla Guthrie.

At least a few moments.

“I still don’t feel normal,” said Guthrie, a sophomore. “School is still very hard, and I know I’m not as fast as I used to be on the track. But I love being part of this team, and I like being able to contribute something.”

Last winter, Guthrie was a hotshot freshman who had emerged as North Andover’s top sprinter. She ran on a relay which advanced to New Englands.

Then life, and more than a little bad luck, stopped her in her tracks.

First, Guthrie lost her freshman outdoor track season to the effects of a broken back suffered a year earlier.

Then, in the fall, her life was thrown into disarray. She suffered a major concussion after a collision playing soccer, an injury that forced her to miss more than a month of school.

Now, more than a year after her greatest athletic accomplishments, Guthrie is dreaming of a return to normalcy, hopefully followed by track success.

“It will be a very happy day when she can return to normal activity,” said her mother, Ursula Guthrie. “She is a true athlete that just wants to get better. She is very determined to worth through this and overcome it.”

Guthrie grew up a standout young athlete. But her string of bad luck began in eighth grade lacrosse, when she suffered a broken vertebrae.

“I was going for a shot and I got pushed hard at the same time,” she said. “I (suffered) a bilateral pars fracture in my L5 vertebrae. I didn’t have surgery, but I had to be in a back brace twice, and had to get a bone growth stimulator.”

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