Former Gonzaga basketball star Katie Campbell still dreams of playing in the pros, but she’s had another tough break and could use an assist.
Fourteen months after her GU career ended with an ACL tear in her left leg, Campbell reinjured the same knee during a scrimmage two weeks ago in Los Angeles.
The timing couldn’t have been worse. Now a mother of two, she was on the verge of signing a professional contract to play in Australia when the left knee gave way.
“I planted my leg and it completely gave out.” Campbell said. “Just like at GU.”
But there’s a big difference: that procedure was covered through Gonzaga. And while Campbell has health insurance, her surgeon – the only one she trusts with her future – isn’t contracted with insurers.
To help offset the cost, Campbell started a GoFundMe account on Wednesday. It was up to $900 by Friday, but the surgery – scheduled for June 24 – will cost about $25,000.
“Just asking for some help so I can get my knee fixed and hopefully play again,” she said on the web site. “Thank you!!! Anything helps.”
Gonzaga fans remember Campbell as one of the best long-range shooters in recent history, and for good reason. In three seasons, the L.A. native shot 40.5% from 3 for her career, including a junior year that saw her ranked as high as second in the nation at 45%.
But Campbell was more than that. A single mom when she arrived in Spokane with one-year-old Ava in the summer of 2017, she juggled motherhood, classes and a demanding sport.
She excelled at all three, helping the Zags to three straight West Coast Conference regular-season titles.
More than a shooter, she also excelled on defense while often facing the opponents’ top scorer.
It all came crashing down on Feb. 1, 2020. As the Zags were closing in on a big win over BYU the ball found Campbell’s hands following a steal.
She was driving toward the basket after a steal when she collided with a BYU player and landed awkwardly on her left knee.
The worst fears were confirmed a few days later: It was an ACL tear, ending Campbell’s college career.
However, in the days and weeks that followed, Campbell turned into the Zags’ biggest cheerleader. During practices she yelled encouragement to her teammates while pedaling a stationary bike and texting thank-yous to the people who sent their love and best wishes.
“It’s something that we’re asking her to do, and it’s something she wants to do,” Coach Lisa Fortier said at the time. “She’s trying hard to continue to be a great leader, which is a huge challenge for injured players.”
Three months later, Campbell earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing and put her professional dreams on hold her during the pandemic and the birth in January of her second daughter, Alaia.
Three months after giving birth and the pandemic receding Campbell was looking at a bright future when disaster struck two weeks ago: ACL and meniscus tears in the left leg.
“I did a lot of rehabbing and was back to 100%,” Campbell said. “I know there is always a tear rate, and I’ve had some issues, but I really didn’t I didn’t think it would tear again.”
“I’d been training really hard and was close to getting an offer to play in Australia,” Campbell said. “Someday I still hope to get that chance.”
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