Black Undaunted by Injury-Plagued Career

In every classic story of courage triumphing over adversity, the hero or heroine must first fall into the depths of despair, rise again, then confront the enemy, all the while proving the skeptics wrong.

For Kelly Black of the women's basketball team, the road to playing Division I basketball made pit stops at every chapter of the classic outline.

Yet four years later, it seems that only recently has the dream melted into reality for the co-captain.

That dream started to become a reality when Harvard coach Kathy Delaney-Smith recruited Black to play for the Crimson. What could possibly go wrong? Kelly had committed to Harvard, her AAU team seemed poised to be a national power...

Perhaps the hardship began when an Atlanta paper questioned Black's decision to attend Harvard. It criticized her choice of a school with a lesser basketball tradition than the southern powers. It mentioned her equally-talented AAU teammate, who chose the University of Georgia. "Kelly Black: Harvard?" the headline read.

Then, the ill-fated omens began to emerge.


"I noticed I couldn't jump as well, couldn't run as fast, my legs were hurting," she said. "I didn't really know why."

Little did Kelly Black know that these pains would turn her Division I dreams into a two-year long nightmare.

Kelly ignored the pain, contributing to play until the throbbing and the soreness just became unbearable.

Stress fracture was the diagnosis, yet this was a unique injury--the crack went a third of the way through Kelly's tibia. But the ailment should clear itself up by the time Kelly entered Harvard, the doctors said.

"I got through that disappointing time knowing I should be able to play at Harvard," Black said.

Kelly Black's freshman orientation at Harvard provided the usual first-year supply of placement tests, roommate bonding...and a one-way ticket to the training room.

"They said it hadn't healed, that I couldn't practice, that I couldn't work out," she said. "I was depressed, unhappy, just not a pleasant person."