Danielle von Arnim has a serious injury to help lead the Cougars to a No. 27 national ranking. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO, UT -- Danielle von Arnim came here from Bogota, Colombia with the hopes of being one of the best golfers at BYU, but she suffered a major setback when she injured her knee after her freshman season.
The main reason von Arnim came to BYU was simply for golf. She was recruited to play here and felt like it was the right decision. In getting here her freshman year, von Armin worked hard to be in the rotation. She played her freshman year as a significant contributor on the team, then, in September before von Armin's sophomore year, she injured her knee.
"Actually, it happened on Juli Wightman's recruiting trip here," von Arnim said. "It's funny to think about it now, but it wasn't funny then."
As a group, the golf team went to a football game that weekend. They ended up having to sit way up near the top since they got there late. At halftime, the group decided to leave for a while, then rejoin the game later. While walking down the ramps that lead to the upper seats, one girl was dared to jump up and hang off of it. She agreed and did it successfully. Then, von Arnim was dared. She jumped up and did it the first time, but wanted to try again.
"The second time I tried it, my hand slipped and I landed badly on my left leg," said von Arnim. "I ended up dislocating my knee cap, chipping some of it off and tearing some ligaments. It was embarrassing because the emergency crew at the football game took me to the hospital."
After her accident, von Arnim wasn't even able to walk for 4 months, let alone play golf. In January, her mom came up from Bogota and von Arnim went through surgery. After that was when she was finally able to get off her crutches. In treatment, her therapist would ask her to raise her leg, and even though von Arnim was trying, the leg wouldn't move. The muscles just weren't there. During the time of her rehabilitation, von Arnim was determined to come back.
"I wasn't able to take my first golf swing until February. It was a long time," von Arnim said.
She was determined to get back to playing the game she loved and contributing to a Cougar golf team that was getting better with every tournament. When she finally got back into playing condition, a lot of team members she had played with her freshman year had either graduated or left. It was time for her to reintroduce herself to her new teammates.
"I didn't know anyone because they had graduated or left. So, I just wanted to prove myself. They didn't know me; they didn't know how I played. I was new to them," von Arnim said.
Coach Sue Nyhus was very impressed with the way von Arnim dealt with the injury.
"She is a very courageous young lady and she did a great job being patient. It might appear that she came right back, but it took her a year and a half. That is a long time to wait for a college athlete. Dani is still working on getting her strength back. She has come a long way, but the injury is a lot more involved than we first thought," Nyhus said.
Even though von Arnim started golfing in February, there was a lot of lost time to make up for. She feels as if she just started progressing four months ago.
"The entire other time I was working out, practicing golf, I was just catching up to where I was before my injury," von Arnim said. "I'm playing better now. I guess it just took me a little longer to heal."
As junior, von Arnim's leadership has helped the Cougars rise to its highest national ranking on over decade (No. 27). This golf season, she has played placed in the Top 20 in four out of the eight tournaments she has played in.