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Team USA: Tamika Catchings’ Basketball Injury Made Her Tight With Jesus

Typically, Olympians and WNBA players like Tamika Catchings springboard from their college athletic teams right into their professional sports careers. And typically, it’s a seamless transition.

Unless you get injured your senior year of college and are sidelined the rest of the season. Then it’s slightly less seamless.

Tamika Catchings’ ACL injury sat her on the bench for the remainder of her senior year at the University of Tennessee and the entire first year of her professional career. She was drafted to the Indiana Fever in 2001, but she had to sit it out. Don’t worry—she made up for lost time in 2002 and was named Rookie of the Year.

But, without that injury, Tamika Catchings wouldn’t be the person she is today.

Fellowship of Christian Athletes

Tamika Catchings grew up going to church, but, as she tells it, church was more of a social thing and not so much about Jesus for her. When she was only three, they discovered Tamika’s hearing impairment, and her hearing aids and affected speech made social interaction in school difficult for Tamika. She found solace on the basketball court because she wasn’t required to speak much, as communication on the court was a sort of sign language. Soon basketball became her life.

In college, she connected with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and FCA allowed her the space to talk and relate to others. But basketball still reigned.

“Sometimes you start to worship your sport. You lose focus of what is important in life because basketball is what you do,” Tamika told FCA’s Sharing the Victory. “Basketball was what I was thinking about when I woke up.”

Tamika’s injury put her on her back, and it was from that moment, she said, her relationship with Jesus exploded and grew to make church and worship more than just social. When she realized all she literally had was God, she found the peace and the strength to make it through the injury. To make it through life.

“Peace definitely came from God. It came from realizing I needed to remove my focus from basketball back to God,” said Tamika, in a report from Gospel Light Minute.

Going Four Gold

Today, 15 years after her career-panicking injury, Tamika Catchings is a ten-time WNBA All Star and has a WNBA MVP award under her belt. And, not to mention, she has three Olympic Gold medals from 2004, 2008 and 2012. Now, she’s trying for a fourth at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. And whether or not she wins, she knows Jesus will be there.

“Jesus is definitely my Savior,” said Tamika. “He’s the one that walks beside me through my ups and downs and the one that keeps me focused on where I am going in life.”

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