Despite having three major sports injuries, recent Crowley High School graduate Lily Hoffpauir managed to find her way back to playing.
She just completed her high school career after having played three years of softball and four years of basketball, even though she tore her medial collateral ligament (MCL) three times and her meniscus once.
During her softball career, she won Captain’s Award all three years and was an all-district honorable mention selection as a sophomore. In basketball, she made the all-district defensive team as a junior and a senior. She was also all-district honorable mention as a sophomore and all-parish honorable mention as a sophomore and a junior.
She explained how she fought through the pain in order to continue playing. “I just tell myself, ‘I can’t let everyone else be right, I can do this.’”
Kayla Godeaux Wimberly, Hoffpauir’s mom, has witnessed her daughter’s spirit first hand. “Lily has the heart of a lion. She does not accept the word ‘can’t’ very well. Lily has always been goal-oriented and driven. Her love and passion for the game are what motivates her. She is so strong mentally. When she sets her mind to something, there is nothing she can’t and won’t accomplish. Mind over matter,” Wimberly stated.
Wimberly also explained how close she and her daughter are. “I and Lily are very close. We talk about things and discuss life on a daily basis,” she said. “We have shared lots of laughs, tears, disappointments, and victories together.”
Hoffpauir recalled the first time she got hurt, which occurred in eighth grade while she was at basketball practice for Northside Christian. “I immediately felt scared,” she said.
She had to go to therapy after each surgery, and each time, it took longer to recover. “It was difficult,” she admitted.
Hoffpauir had her first surgery at Lafayette General Hospital, and she also went there for five months for physical therapy.
The second surgery also took place at Lafayette General Hospital, and she also went there for the nine-month physical therapy. “Lily’s second surgery was extensive. Not only was the MCL repaired for the second time but her bones were out of line and had to be shaved and rotated. She had five screws,” explained Wimberly.
Eight months later, Wimberly got a call that Hoffpauir went up for a lay-up, and it tore again. Hoffpauir played softball at the University of Arkansas three weeks later with it torn. She refused to have surgery until after the basketball season.
The third surgery was done two weeks after the basketball season at Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans, and she then went to Eric Lambousy Physical Therapy in Crowley for 11 months. “We went to Tulane for a second opinion to find out that the bone had been rotated the wrong way,” stated Wimberly. “So in this surgery, it would include removing screws, reshaving bone, rotating back to center, then over, replacing screws, and repairing the MCL with a cadaver ligament.” Hoffpauir also tore the meniscus.
Hoffpauir explained how each injury affected her. “Sometimes I get sore or hurt (ache), and it feels hard to move my knee. Sometimes on cold days, it’s hard to walk or bend down.”
She admitted her injuries affect her more mentally. “I second guess my movement a lot more.”
Hoffpauir also mentioned how the injuries will affect her long term. “Scar tissue will build up and cause arthritis. With more scar tissue built up, it will make it harder to move.”
Wimberly said, “With every surgery comes different struggles. She would get depressed and upset with herself. They had to be done, but everyone got a little harder and painful. Every time she was injured and had to have surgery, there was a doubt of playing again. Was it worth it? She had a hard time with why this kept happening to her.”
Her biggest supporters are her mom and grandpa. She explained, “They sacrificed so much to drive me to therapy every day and appointments.”
Wimberly has rarely missed anything Hoffpauir has done. “I think I have missed a total of four games in her high school basketball/softball career.”
Watching her daughter play sports can be hard. “As a mother, I pray before every game. I also cringe with every wrong movement. It sometimes makes it very difficult to watch.”
Wimberly thinks that Marcy Miller is Lily’s biggest non-related supporter. “Lily and Marcy have been best friends since the age of five. They have pushed each other through all the struggles. They are sisters in their eyes,” explained Wimberly.
Wimberly knows Hoffpauir hurts after all of her games. “I see the swelling. I see her faces. I know when she is in pain, (but) Lily never wants to let her team down and will play and push until she collapses at home or in the car,” said Wimberly. “Some nights after basketball games her knee was so swollen she couldn’t walk, but she would ice and take ibuprofen — all to do it again the next day.”
Hoffpauir dreamt of playing college softball for Alabama. “She loves sports so much that all she wants to do is play. And, being a senior, she knows this is it for her. Her goal was college softball, and that dream was crushed with surgery number three.”
After the surgery, the doctor told Hoffpauir he would not allow her to play any more court sports, but he would allow her to play softball.
“That ride home was the longest,” recalled Wimberly. “She was devastated to not be able to play her senior year. She rehabbed hard to get stronger. The doctor gave her an unrealistic goal (in his eyes) and said if she could pass the physical test, she could be released. Six weeks later, she came back and passed it. She was on the court two weeks later.”
The heart and determination that Lily has are like no other. As a parent, I could not be more proud of the young lady she has become and the struggles she has overcome,” Wimberly stated.