Injured cross country runner wants to run again

Dennis Marshall

Sarah Goffinet, a sophomore cross-country member, said she wants the USI community to know she is thankful for all the support she has received.

Goffinet was in a car accident that nearly took her life on Nov 1, 2013. She was following her mother, Darla, to their home in Tell City on Indiana 66 near the Evanston exit when she collided with a flatbed truck carrying a utility tractor. Goffinet was trapped in the car when it caught on fire. Nearby residents put the flames out and first responders airlifted her to Saint Mary’s in Evansville

“Thank you for all the thoughts and prayers,” she said. “Because that has helped a lot.”

Goffinet suffered seven spiral fractures to her vertebrae, a lacerated spleen, significant damage to the peroneal nerve in her left leg, a compound fracture of her right fibula, ruptured ACL and PCL in her in left leg, two collapsed lungs and a fractured left humerus, patella and femoral condyle.

Goffinet said she goes to rehab three times a week, doing her physical therapy in Tell City and occupational therapy in Evansville.

She’s still enrolled at USI but is currently taking just one class.

“My right leg is probably the best, it feels fine but that’s probably from the rods in it,” Goffinet said.

Her right fibula and tibia were replaced with rods.

“I just got my DonJoy off of my left knee, the big black brace. I have to be able to bend my knee to a 90-degree angle before I can do my ACL and PCL reconstructive surgery in March,” Goffinet said.

Her doctors say it would be unlikely for Goffinet to be able to compete on the track again, she said.

“I want to. We just figured out that the nerves in my foot won’t heal any more and the doctor told me that running would be impossible,” she said. “We are trying to explore all my options right now, but I want to. I’ve always wanted to.”

Goffinet said besides some nerve damage everything else is fine and, right now, she is focused on bending her left knee to get ready for her next surgery.

USI’s cross country Head Coach Mike Hillyard said Goffinet would remain a member of the cross-country team until she graduates, regardless if she runs another competitive step.

Hillyard was in the room when doctors told Goffinet’s family that she might not make it though the night.

“I was struck by how positive and upbeat she was about what she was dealing with. She was just, ‘OK what is the next step to get better?’ And that is the way she has been ever since,” Hillyard said. “It has certainly been remarkable, the way she has handled all of her rehab but for people who know Sarah it’s not a surprise.”