Here’s the scenario. You’re returning to a sport you haven’t played competitively in three years, and you’re doing it 15 months after a serious car accident left you with three broken bones in your neck and a concussion.
So, Miranda Tinsman, how does it feel to be playing lacrosse again?
“I was excited for it. Lacrosse was always my fun sport. I did it because I enjoyed it,” Tinsman, a Belgrade native and graduate of Messalonskee High School, said. “I couldn’t be happier to play. I’m lucky to be able to play.”
A junior at Thomas College, Tinsman is in her first season playing lacrosse for the Terriers, and any rust her game had early in the season is gone. Tinsman is tied for second on the Terriers with 11 goals and is third on the team in points with 14.
“I already knew she’d be a pretty good asset for us. When I heard she was coming to Thomas, I was thrilled to hear it,” Thomas coach Lauren Bickford said. As a senior at New England College in 2010, Bickford was a teammate of Tinsman’s. “It’s kind of a unique situation we’re in here, but it’s worked really well. It’s great to have her back.”
Tinsman spent one year at New England College, then moved to Destin, Fla., for nine months, where she took online classes through the University of Maine at Augusta. When she moved back home, Tinsman enrolled at Thomas and joined the field hockey team for the 2011 season. Her plan was to play lacrosse last season, but the car accident on Nov. 11, just after the field hockey season ended, changed that.
“I don’t really remember much about the accident. I broke three bones in my neck and was in the neck brace for three months,” Tinsman said.
The accident happened around 10 in the morning, less than a mile from her Belgrade home. Along with the three broken bones in her neck, Tinsman suffered a concussion. She was on the way to a car service appointment and no other drivers were involved in the crash. Authorities, thinking Tinsman may have been distracted by her phone, checked to see if she was texting at the time of the accident. She was not and was cleared.
Late last summer, Tinsman was finally cleared to play sports the day before the start of field hockey preseason. A defender, Tinsman scored six goals and had two assists in the fall, when, admittedly, she wasn’t in the best shape.
“That was a struggle, too. You have to be in shape to play sports. I had pretty much done nothing for, I don’t know how many months it was. But it was definitely a struggle,” Tinsman said.
The return to lacrosse was more of a mental hurdle than a physical one.
“I told Coach (Bickford) I was nervous about forgetting how to play. I didn’t, thank God,” Tinsman said.
No, she didn’t. Tinsman scored a school record 74 goals in her senior season at Messalonskee. As a freshman at New England College, she scored 21 goals and five assists in 17 games. While she’s not scoring at that incredible clip now, she’s finding the net. Tinsman scored a pair of goals in her first game for the Terriers, a 17-6 loss to St. Joseph’s. She had a goal and an assist in the next game, a 17-4 win over Elms, and in a 20-6 win over Wheelock, Tinsman scored three goals.
“It’s been a little bit of a slow start for her, but we were just in Florida last week and she’s really turned things around for herself,” Bickford said. “She’s noticing herself getting more confidence on the field. That was evident in our first game down in Florida.”
In that game, a 15-10 loss to Wesley, Tinsman scored five goals on seven shots and assisted on another score.
“I just wanted to make an impression, make a name for myself again,” Tinsman said.
She’s certainly done that. The Terriers are 3-3 and play this afternoon at Wentworth. With six North Atlantic Conference games to end the regular season, Tinsman’s knack for the net will be a key for the Terriers.
“She’s very strong. She’s always been strong on attack. She is a goal scorer. Quick to the net, a quick shot that goalies have a tough time stopping,” Bickford said.
A Marketing Management major, Tinsman’s only regret is not choosing Thomas sooner.
“I guess I should have taken advantage of a great school close to my house before,” Tinsman said.
When you have talent like Tinsman, and the ability to overcome injury, and three years away from the game you love, that lost time has a way of being found.