By SCOTT COTTOS
Claire Meyers wasn’t going to let something like a broken leg mess up the present or the future for her.
Meyers’ right leg was broken in three places in a collision at home plate during a softball scrimmage last March, her senior season at Fostoria High School.
She figured right away that her post-graduation entry to the U.S. Navy may have been scotched, which made an already-painful situation worse because she believed a naval career may have been in store for her.
But with plenty of medical assistance, her own determination and support from others, Meyers went full speed ahead.
“I didn’t let it stop me,” she said. “I wanted to walk across the stage at graduation without crutches and I did. I wanted to go to California (for a school project) and I did. And I wanted to get into the Navy, and I did.”
Initially, the injury did indeed nix the acceptance into the Navy that she had gained during her senior year. But after Dr. Michael Tremains of Findlay performed a pair of surgeries that Meyers highly lauded, the Navy readmitted her following her second application.
Meyers said she had kept her emotions pretty well in check since March, but she cried after her recruiter from Findlay told her earlier this month that she was good to enter the Navy.
“Finally realizing it was all over kind of sent me over the edge,” Meyers said. “I was happy.”
One of her biggest supporters through the entire ordeal was FHS softball coach Clayton Moore, with whom a friendship has grown.
“I appreciate everything he’s done,” Meyers said. “He’s stuck by my side the whole time.”
“That just hurt me,” Moore said of Meyers’ initial disqualification from the Navy after the injury. “I just tried to be there for her, be strong for her and be positive for her.”
Moore praised Meyers’ ability to stay calm immediately after the injury occurred and her determination to work toward her goal.
“That’s the kind of person I want defending our country,” he said, noting that word of her readmission to the Navy “definitely made my day, my night and everything else.”
Shortly after she was injured, Meyers underwent surgery in which rods and screws were used to help repair her leg. Then came therapy — “They pushed my will to its max, that’s for sure,” she said — and, on the recommendation of her naval recruiter, another operation in July to remove the metal from her leg.
Everything then fell into place for the Navy to take her back. On Sept. 9, she will report to Naval Station Great Lakes, near Chicago, where she will become a gunner’s mate. That position will involve the inventory and maintenance of guns and ammunition and the operation of gun ranges.
Meyers gained inspiration to enter the Navy from one of her grandmothers and both of her grandfathers having served in that branch of the service.
Now, Moore believes that Meyers’ story of perseverance and “triumph over tragedy” could serve as inspiration for other people.
“Her injury may not have been for her, but for someone else,” he said.
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