Alyssa Broberg (Allendale Columbia School, Class of 2016) is a 3-sport athlete who has competed on HAC’s varsity volleyball, basketball and softball teams. This year, she will become a 4-year member of both the varsity volleyball and varsity girls basketball teams. After having hip surgery her junior year to help repair a torn labrum and alleviate pain from hip dysplasia, Alyssa faced an uphill battle to getting back to playing sports at a high level. Learn more about her recovery and HAC career below.
Alyssa’s freshman year of high school was also her first on the varsity volleyball team. Though playing time was sporadic, she helped HAC reach the sectional championship by notching a season-high 5 assists in the semifinals match against Genesee Valley. It was also freshman year that Alyssa met her school advisor and HAC JV head volleyball coach Erin Conway.
“When I met Alyssa, it was one of my first days at Allendale Columbia,” said Conway. “I remember meeting her and thinking that Alyssa was very mature for an incoming freshman.”
It was both maturity and athletic prowess that helped her to also make the varsity girls basketball team as a freshman. Though that year’s team rostered basketball standouts Kayli O’Keefe, Abby O’Keefe and Jenny Scudder, Alyssa appeared in all 21 games that season averaging 2.0 points and 2.7 rebounds for a team that finished with a 18-3 overall record. That year, the Wolves would lose to Lyons in Section V’s Class C semifinals 57-58.
It appeared fortunate for HAC to have a future 4-year varsity volleyball and basketball player showing contributions already as a freshman on talent-ladened teams.
Alyssa’s development as a volleyball player would be hastened her sophomore year, as an unexpected season ending injury to then senior and starting setter Erin Amborksi (Allendale Columbia School, Class of 2014) thrust Alyssa into the starting setter position as a sophomore and perhaps a year earlier than intended.
“Alyssa has always had an incredible work ethic and high personal integrity,” said assistant varsity volleyball coach Dan DeYoung. “Alyssa’s sophomore year…she accepted the challenge and embraced her elevated role. Seeing her shine in a situation in which we honestly expected her to simply develop for the year opened my eyes to what a special, young athlete we had in Alyssa.”
Indeed, the Wolves didn’t skip a beat that season and the 1st year varsity setter recorded 22 assists, 1 kill, 1 ace and 4 digs in the sectional semifinals against Genesee Valley to help the HAC volleyball team reach the finals and eventually win a Section V Class D Championship.
That winter, Alyssa would continue to find similar success helping the varsity girls basketball team reach the semifinals of Section V’s Class C3 tournament and a 16-5 record. She again, appeared in 21 games and increased her scoring to 3.1 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. Her all-around skills also grew, as she also chipped in with 1.2 assists and 1.4 steals each game.
Despite the improvement between her freshman and sophomore year, all was not well. A slight pain in her hip that had been an inconvenience early in her sports career had now started to become unbearable. When she first went to the doctor, she was misdiagnosed with hip bursitis and was directed to use over-the-counter pain killers and to rest for a few weeks.
A few weeks went by. The pain would not subside and was becoming difficult to endure.
At one point, it got so bad she was having to take tests in school standing up because sitting for a long duration had become too painful.
In the fall of 2014, Alyssa gutted through hip pain and a tough 22 game volleyball schedule, while earning 2nd Team Finger Lakes All-Star honors and helping the Wolves earn a #3 seed in Section V’s Class D Tournament. HAC would make it back to the sectional championship, but the Wolves would eventually fall to #1 Hammondsport in 3 games.
As the basketball season approached, still immense hip pain lingered.
Through the first 13 games of her junior basketball season, Alyssa looked poised for a breakout year. She set career-highs in points per game (7.9), rebounds (4.0), assists (2.2) and steals (1.5) and also scored a career-high 19 points, including 4 three pointers, en route to helping HAC down Finger Lakes West rival Red Jacket 44-37. She did all this while playing point guard on the varsity team for the first time is her career.
“Alyssa is tough.” said HAC Varsity Girls Basketball Coach Jason Hermance. “Not only did she battle through physical injury, but she also had to demonstrate mental toughness fighting through mistakes as she took on the point guard role her junior year.”
Through all the success she had found her junior year, the pain in her hip only grew worst. The 13 games she played would be the only games she’d appear in.
Another trip to the doctor and an MRI revealed that Broberg did not have hip bursitis, but in fact had torn her labrum. Even worse was that because of her hip dysplasia, her labrum was constantly being torn over and over again as the muscle was caught between her femur and hip socket, an effect caused by hip dysplasia.
“Hip dysplasia runs in our family,” said Alyssa. “My grandma had it and my cousin had it when he was born and had to wear hip braces and I have it as well.”
“I played too many sports and wore down my labrum and then because of the hip dysplasia it could never heal.”
Broberg would need surgery.
Expected recovery time was anywhere between 6 and 9 months. Her basketball season and junior sports year were over.
From that point on, the varsity girls basketball team won just 1 of their last 7 remaining games, finishing 7-13 overall.
“Someone with Alyssa’s basketball IQ and leadership skills cannot be replaced,” said head varsity girls basketball coach Jason Hermance. “Alyssa gave our team a lot of flexibility to play multiple positions at a high-level and she was also our team leader with 16 three pointers made at that point of season. Her loss really forced our younger players to step up. Though injured, Alyssa still was at practice and games to offer our younger players guidance and encouragement.”
Surgery came and went. For two weeks straight, she wasn’t allowed to put any weight on her left side and at night she was conformed to a brace that didn’t allow her to move.
“It was like I was newborn baby,” recalled Alyssa. “I’d have to call my mom to get me in and out of bed or to move me if I got uncomfortable.”
Those days were tough, but family, friends, teammates and coaches came and visited her and helped keep her spirits positive.
“I visited Alyssa at her house after the surgery,” said Conway. “The thing I remember the most is just the high spirits that she was in. Alyssa was facing such a long recovery time and I know for a lot of other student-athletes it would’ve been a tremendous blow to not be able to really move, let alone play sports for that extended amount of time… even through all that, she was still positive.”
From there, Alyssa spent the next 4 weeks on crunches. When she was finally able to bear weight on her left-side, Alyssa had to learn to walk all over again.
It took nearly 4 months of rehabilitation until she was able to get her body to the point of being able to run 1/2 a mile on an elliptical.
“I just remember seeing posters of all these professional athletes who had come back from devastating injuries to play at a high level. I looked at them and even though I’m not a professional athlete, I asked myself why not me too? I used that as motivation to push through physical therapy.”
By the 6 month mark after the surgery, Alyssa was medically cleared to participate fully in sports; just in time for preseason volleyball and her senior year.
Alyssa had a terrific senior volleyball season and was named one of the captains. She helped the Wolves finish with a 12-8 record and earn the #5 seed in Section V’s Class D3 Tournament. On Monday, October 21st, Alyssa set a career-high 41 assists in a 5-game match versus Finger Lakes West rival Honeoye and at the end of the regular season was named again a 2nd Team Finger Lakes West All-Star.
“Alyssa is like the Energizer Bunny; she just keeps going…nothing can stop her,” said head varsity volleyball coach Amy Colosimo. “On the court she gives it her all, she leaves her heart out there. I was happy to see Alyssa, after recovering from surgery, be able to return to play volleyball at a high level.”
Alyssa helped guide HAC to the sectional semifinals, but it would be the #1 seeded Honeoye Bulldogs that would emerge on top as the Wolves fell in 3 games. Broberg ended her last match with 2 aces, 9 digs, 2 kills and 23 assists.
Regardless of final results, Alyssa’s toughness through pain, surgery and recovery has had a lasting impact on her coaches and teammates that extends further than just on the volleyball and basketball court.
“She’s one of those players that makes me want to become a better coach. I want to step up my game so I can help her become a better player,” said Colosimo.
“Alyssa has had a huge influence on my life,” said DeYoung. “She is simply one of the best people I know of any age; the kind of person who makes you better just being around her.”
Learn more about Alyssa Broberg in the Q&A below.
What motivates you?
I want to be the best. I want to do what I can to make our team and myself better each day.
What’s your favorite aspect of playing HAC Sports?
Being able to help my team succeed is a great feeling. I like being a part of something…being a part of a team and seeing how much hard work can pay off.
In general, I like country music. One song I really like right now is Wildest Dreams by Taylor Swift.
I like mostly everything. I really like chicken cordon bleu, both homemade and the frozen-aisle kinds.
Favorite Hobbies Outside of Sports:
I like cooking and baking. I like going on Pinterest to try different recipes.
The Immortals novels by Alyson Noël.
What advice would you give yourself as a 7th grader?
To try different things and not be scared of it. I was the type of person who cried in 5th grade because I didn’t want to go on the whale watch and leave my parents. now, I realized that I can be happy meeting different people and being confident in myself even in situations where I don’t know anyone.
What is your favorite class in school currently and who is one of your favorite teachers?
Biology is my favorite class and subject to study. When I first had my mom as a teacher in 9th and 10th grade (Diane Broberg, Allendale Columbia Upper School Mathematics teacher), I strongly disliked the situation of having her both in school and at home as my teacher. Now that I’m a senior and older, I’ve realized what a good teacher she is and that I’ve learned a lot from her. So I have to say that my mom is my favorite teacher.
Where do you want to go for college and what do you want to study?
“Happy Warrior is the phrase I would use to describe Alyssa. She works HARD at whatever she does; she fights for success and does it all with a cheerful attitude and a smile. Her attitude is infectious. Alyssa is also extremely tough. She played in a lot of pain the last 2 years and I’m not sure I can ever remember her giving up on anything.
I remember one particular instance seeing Alyssa collapsed on the court, covered in sweat, having just tried to set a horrible pass, looking up at me with a huge grin on her face – that’s the ‘Happy Warrior’ I’ll remember after Alyssa graduates.”
-HAC assistant varsity volleyball coach Dan DeYoung
“I really appreciate how humble Alyssa is. She is an excellent student with the graders to show for it and an outstanding athlete, yet she never brags or boasts about her many achievements and successes. She always goes above and beyond what is expected without any fanfare or need to draw attention to herself. I appreciate her sense of humor and upbeat attitude and how positive of a person she is to be around. Though humble, I hope Alyssa realize how exceptional she is.”
-HAC JV head volleyball coach, Allendale Columbia Schoo P.E. teacher, Alyssa’s Advisory, Erin Conway
“Some of my favorite qualities of Alyssa, and she has quite a few, are her kind heart, friendship to her teammates, her dedication and motivation. I love how Alyssa is always striving to be a better player and learn more..”
-HAC varsity head volleyball coach, French teacher at The Harley School French, Amy Colosimo