Samford senior Zoë Perrin overcomes three surgeries in four years
Being a Samford Soccer player comes with a need for determination to be the best: the best player, the best teammate, the best motivator. Zoë Perrin is determined to be the best, against all odds and against all obstacles.
Perrin committed to play soccer at Samford University during her senior year at Saint Scholastica Academy in Covington, Louisiana. Just one month after her commitment, Perrin tore her ACL, a common yet potentially detrimental injury for young athletes. Perrin had to redshirt her freshman year at Samford, allowing her ACL a full 12 months to heal while attending regular physical therapy.
When her sophomore year came, Perrin played in the non-conference games leading up to the regular season Southern Conference matches. During the first week of conference play, she partially tore her ACL again. She decided to push through and keep playing, not wanting to be out another season.
Nevertheless, a week later, it fully tore again, making this the second torn ACL in two years for Perrin. Her sophomore season was over.
Perrin took this seemingly traumatic event with the best attitude and positivity toward the situation.
“At first coming in it was like, ‘alright I am going to get through this.’ And then the next injury came, and I thought, ‘I got through the first one, I can get through this one, too,’” Perrin said. “And so when the little hiccup came at the end of last season, it was just nothing to me, and it was an opportunity for me to change myself for the better as a player.”
Physical hardships can easily have a negative mental and emotional effect on an athlete, especially in the case of Perrin, who has been injured for a majority of her collegiate career. However, she never let her physical challenges get the best of her spirit. Instead, she always finds a way to channel her competitive spirit into encouraging those around her.
“Because of injury and also just trying to find myself as a player, I haven’t had a lot of playing opportunities,” Perrin said, “so a lot of this time has been learning to be the best teammate I could be and showing them that no matter what, I was going to be their number one cheerleader.”
With junior year came COVID-19 and eventually the cancelation of the 2020 season for Samford. Perrin was expected to be fully healthy, however, another issue arose. Perrin needed another surgery after an interference screw began working its way out of her bones, forming a bulging knot on her knee. She played through the pain of having the knot for some time before the pandemic forced a break from soccer.
Perrin is now a senior at Samford and entered the 2021 season fully healthy and ready to compete. Though the uncertainty of her ACL health was in question, Perrin has finally broken through as a significant impact on the pitch.
Perrin has appeared in 10 of the 12 games played this season, recording at least five minutes in each game. The Bulldogs are now well into their Southern Conference schedule, and Perrin could potentially lead her team to another conference title, this time as both a motivator and a player.
Regardless of this season’s outcome, Perrin plans for this season to be her last. She has played soccer since she was 4-years-old, and is nearing the end of a career of monumental highs and lows.
She is currently looking forward to the rest of this season and reflects on her past years as an athlete.
“With soccer, it’s given me the freedom to just enjoy it and enjoy my last time being around teammates and in this competitive environment,” she reminisced.
Perrin recognizes that her long and rewarding career in soccer, though filled with unexpected challenges, has helped her to grow as a person.
“Even if I was not playing, I was so proud that my teammates were playing. And then when I am playing, I want to love people by being the best I can be in every way possible,” she said.
Perrin plans to graduate from Samford in December of this year to pursue a career in athletic training, something that no one could doubt her familiarity with. Through her experience in rehabilitation, she knows that her heart is with athletic training for the next chapter in her life.