It had been a little over a month since Aramonie Brinkerhoff stepped onto a diving board to compete for the Powell Panthers. She found her way back after recovering from a moderate concussion suffered at practice to compete for Powell at the final home meet of the season on Oct. 13.
In what seemed like a normal practice, Brinkerhoff said she had been working on keeping her legs together during a routine dive and had nailed it.
Moving into her next dive she was told to try and replicate it with more height, but disaster struck when she took her next rep.
“When I went up I threw my head back and pushed my hips up too much so it brought me closer to the board and after my twist I slid down on my back and hit my head,” Brinkerhoff said.
She said when she initially came back up after the diving attempt she was hit with shock.
After that shock factor Brinkerhoff was ready to hop right back on the board, but her coaches did not allow her to return to practice, suspecting that she had a concussion.
The week that followed she said the pain primarily got worse, turning suspicions of a mild concussion into a moderate one.
Her symptoms continued to persist throughout the next four weeks, not allowing her back on the board after starting the season as the No. 2 diver for the Panthers.
“It did suck if I am being totally honest,” Brinkerhoff said. “Especially since last year I missed three weeks due to Covid. I was saying this year would be my redemption year, I was planning to do good and place at state and then the concussion happened.”
Brinkerhoff made her return to the board just before the meet in Powell, saying there was an initial fear of hitting her head on the board again.
“It was definitely more mental,” Brinkerhoff said. “I have been working on my approaches a lot so I have that down physically.”
Throughout the process she has been helped by her diving teammates Kami Jensen, Tori Black and Emma Brence, who helped provide support for her and checked in to make sure she was recovering.
Now Brinkerhoff has returned to the team, having competed in just four meets this season — and already qualified for state — heading into the conference meet this weekend.
“I placed fourth at conference last year, and I am really hoping to get fourth place or better at conference this year,” Brinkerhoff said.
She knows she will have to work hard to get back into her 11 dive routine, but hopes her prior experience can make her junior year finish on a high at conference and state.