For assistant captain Philip Suprise, three surgeries in a 12-month span wasn’t the hard part.
It was knowing he couldn’t get on the field.
Suprise, a junior forward for Quinnipiac men’s soccer team, had a broken foot and surgeries on both of his legs due to compartment syndrome: a condition in which pressure within the muscle builds in an area to dangerously high levels, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
“You hate to say it and admit someone’s injury prone,” Suprise said, “but you have to admit it. I’m glad I’m playing and walking again because this is the fifth or sixth time I’ve gone under the knife in my life.”
Despite all the injuries, Suprise wanted to play.
“It hurts. It hurts not being able to play,” said Suprise, who has only missed three games in his collegiate career. “When you talk with all of your other friends out here and they’re all playing, you just want to get back out there and play and help out as much as you can when you get back.”
Suprise said he broke his foot two weeks before last year’s preseason and missed the team’s first three games last season.
“I was pretty much playing with a broken foot all season,” Suprise said.
Even when he wasn’t at 100 percent, he was still one of the go-to players on the field. He led the team in goals and points his first two seasons as a Bobcat.
“Phil’s a quality player and we know what we’re going to get out of him,” head coach Eric Da Costa said after Monday’s 2-1 loss to Providence.
But while a broken foot couldn’t keep him off the field, compartment syndrome did.
Suprise said he first felt symptoms on his left leg toward the end of the spring season.
“It was a weird feeling. I’d run and then I’d lose feeling in the bottom half of my leg, and then I couldn’t move my foot anymore,” he said.
Suprise, a physical therapy major, said compartment syndrome is based on overuse and overexertion.
“If you have it in one leg, you’ll probably have it in the other,” he said.
And he did just a few months later.
Suprise had to undergo surgery on his right leg at the beginning of this summer and had to miss the first month and a half of his summer team’s season.
“It’s an easy test once you get to the doctor,” Suprise said. “It was a quick surgery, quick recovery, but it was hard to come from two [surgeries] on both legs.”
Doctors told Suprise that it would take five to six weeks for each leg to heal, which meant Suprise wouldn’t return to full strength for “a good 20-25 weeks.”
Suprise said all the Quinnipiac trainers are “phenomenal,” pointing out Meghan McCaffrey since she took care of him after his first surgery.
“When you have surgery in both of your legs, you lose a lot of strength, and it’s hard getting that back,” Suprise said. “It’s hard getting your first step back. It’s hard getting your full speed back. I’m slowly getting it all back.”
Slowly, but surely.
He said it was a priority to not push himself too much. “Playing in pain is worse,” Suprise said. “It’s not fun. Get fixed, get rehab properly, don’t push yourself, and listen to whoever helps you.”
Suprise had an assist in the team’s season opener and said he was very close to being 100 percent healthy after the game.
With good health, Suprise can return to true form: the team leader and playmaker his team saw the past two seasons.