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Rob Pannell

New York, NY

On March 3, 2012, two games into the biggest season of my career at Cornell and after a 10 point performance in the first game, I broke my 5th metatarsal. Athletes spend their whole life training to reach a certain level of performance. I spent my whole life training to play college lacrosse with the hopes of one day winning a National Championship. After losing in overtime in the championship game my freshmen year at Cornell, I wanted nothing more than to get back to that point. I wanted another chance to hoist that trophy. The next three years I trained harder than I had ever trained before, allowing me to bring my game to the highest level its ever been at, entering my senior year.

Senior year is what you wait all of college for. Finally it's your time to lead the team with your best friends that make up your class. It's your chance to leave your legacy in the Cornell Lacrosse history books. I came into the season in the best shape of my life and opened up the season with a 6 goal and 4 assist performance against Binghamton, best game of my career. The next morning, my left foot was sore, but as someone who had never been seriously injured, I didn't think anything of it. Running in practice was painful so I loosened my cleats a little bit to ease the pain. With Binghamton being a mid week game, we had short rest period until Army on Saturday and that also meant walk through practices which you didn't fully exert yourself. Unfortunately for me that meant not realizing the extent of my injury.

With a large lead and some pain building up in my foot in the 3rd quarter, I was going to take myself out of the game knowing that we were in control. However, with 18 seconds to go in the quarter, being the competitor that I am, I took the ball and dodged hard towards the cage. When changing direction, I planted hard off my left foot and a sharp pain shot through my foot and I continued along finishing the play and immediately feel right to the ground. My foot was throbbing and I had never felt that sort of pain before. Soon after the trainer came over and pressed on the outside of my foot, I screamed in agony. My mom said the stadium was dead silent as this was going on and then all of a sudden you could hear my scream from the field. An hour later, x-rays showed I had broken my 5th metatarsal and was most likely done for the season as tears poured down my face.

Two days later, I headed into HSS to meet Dr. Levine for the first time and see what my options were. He eased my pain in telling me that with surgery and putting a screw in my foot I could be back in 6 weeks. In reality, in six weeks, it was impossible for me to be back doing what I was doing before I broke my foot. But regardless, it helped just to think it was. Dr. Levine assured me that in handling this the right way, I would get back to my old self and play at that high level again in the future. I was also drafted in the MLL to play for the New York Lizards so this was on my mind as well as lacrosse was going to be a large part of my future.

On March 5, Dr. Levine performed a successful surgery on my left foot, putting a screw in my 5th metatarsal and I was on the road to recovery. I did not make it back for my senior season and looked at all my options and decided to come back to Cornell for a 5th year. From surgery until my time back on Cornell's campus in January 2013, Dr. Levine was a tremendous help in getting me back to 100%, something at the time I never thought would be possible.

In my 5th year, 2013, Cornell won the Ivy League Championship and reached the Final Four for the third time in my career. Personally, I had my best season yet, breaking the NCAA Division 1 points record, recording my 354th point in the last game of my career in the semi-finals. I was awarded the Tewaaraton Award given to the nations best player and that summer was named Rookie of the Year and an All-star in the MLL. Since then, I have played on Team USA and am now entering my third year in the MLL, playing the best lacrosse of my career.

Without Dr. Levine, his professional expertise, his excellent staff, but most importantly his genuine care for me as a person, none of this would have been possible. Dr. David Levine is a professional in every sense of the word. Thank you Dr. Levine and thank you HSS.