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Lapointe shows spirit of a Warrior following knee injury in Bangor

FORT KENT, Maine — Fort Kent’s Libby Lapointe is on the mend following a knee injury that silenced the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor for nearly half an hour during a Class C North quarterfinal girls basketball game on Tuesday, Feb. 20. 

“When I was moving, my knee landed weird,” Lapointe, a senior guard/forward with the Fort Kent Community High School Warriors said of the incident which happened several minutes into the fourth quarter of the game against the Dexter Tigers.

As Lapointe lay in pain on the gymnasium floor, Kelly O’Leary, coach of the Warrior girls and his wife, Joanne O’Leary, a nurse at Fish River Rural Health, rushed to her side until ambulance personnel arrived and Lapointe was transported to Eastern Maine Medical Center.

Warrior Libby Lapointe is still healing following a knee injury she sustained during a Class C North quarterfinal game against Dexter on Tuesday, Feb. 20. (Contributed)

“Libby’s injury was a freak knee dislocation. She was transported to a local hospital in Bangor where they put the knee back in place,” Coach O’Leary said on Monday. He described Lapointe’s knee dislocation as “a very painful injury.”

After resetting her knee, doctors at the Bangor hospital stabilized Lapointe’s leg with a brace which she will need to wear for several weeks and provided her with crutches to help her walk.  

Lapointe also will require further medical evaluation to determine the extent of the injury.

“It’s feeling a lot better, I still can’t bend it or lift it up. It’s still very swollen. But I can put more pressure on my leg when I walk with the crutches. I need to get an MRI to see if there is any other damage and see if I tore anything,” she said on Monday.

Despite her injury, Lapointe demonstrated her Warrior strength and pride when released from EMMC.

“After leaving the hospital, Libby returned to the Cross Center to be with her teammates and cheer the boys’ team on. I have never seen such a tough passionate player as Libby Lapointe,” Coach O’Leary said.

“Well, I wanted to go watch them,” Lapointe said of the Warrior boys quarterfinal bid against the Central Aroostook Panthers.

Lapointe said that despite being so far from home, she had a strong support system to help her through the ordeal.  

“When it happened, my coach and his wife and my mom were there. When I got to the hospital, my dad, mom, sister, brother, grandfather, and my grandmother were all there for me,” she said.

Lapointe was selected to play in the Aroostook League Senior All-Star Basketball Game in Caribou on Wednesday, March 7, but will be unable to play in that game due to her knee injury. Still, Lapointe plans to attend the game and cheer on her fellow all-stars from the bench. Organizers said Lapointe also will be recognized as an All-Star.

Lapointe, an honor student at FKCHS, has big plans outside of basketball to look forward to. She won gold and silver medals at the 41st Annual Maine State Health Occupation Students of America competition last year and plans to attend the University of Maine at Fort Kent to study nursing in the fall.

And although the final few minutes of her high-school basketball career didn’t end as planned, Lapointe said she is proud of what she and her teammates accomplished during the 2017-2018 basketball season. Fort Kent, the seventh seed in the playoffs, lost its playoff game against Dexter and concluded its season with a 13-7 record.

“I was very happy about this year’s season. It was definitely as great a season as any senior could ask for,” she said. “And even though it didn’t go how we planned in Bangor, I wouldn’t take back going for anything in the world.”

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