Getting over injuries is always something athletes have to deal with, but Mansfield Legacy’s QuRea Madden had to correct a congenital medical condition before she was able to begin excelling at the sport she loves, volleyball.
Madden was born with scoliosis, an abnormal curvature of the spine.
Occurring most often during a growth spurt just before puberty, Madden’s dealing with scoliosis in middle school eventually required her to wear a back brace for three years. It also forced her to take three months away from playing outside hitter before she was cleared to participate again.
In that three-month hiatus in eighth grade, Madden said she missed out on her opportunity to be observed by the high school coaches prior to going into her freshman year.
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Physical therapy and bracing seemed to be just the right treatment plan for Madden.
But not only did the three months halt her activity from volleyball, it also put a damper on her exercise routine, resulting in about a 20-pound weight loss. Still, Madden was able to regain muscle and has continued to be increasingly more athletic.
She said she started playing volleyball after her parents pushed her to get back into athletics after quitting softball when she was younger.
It’s a good feeling to make someone feel better and tell them that everything will be OK.
QuRea Madden, on reassuring children in physical therapy
Being the tallest in her class at the time, volleyball seemed a natural fit.
“We were really bad,” Madden admitted, “but everyone else was worse than us.”
In her freshman year, she transitioned from the middle to the outside, which she enjoyed because she said she could rotate to the back row.
“If people don’t know me — I feel like I don’t look as athletic as I am,” Madden said. “People don’t expect me to move or jump like I can.”
The converted outside hitter was moved back to the middle blocker position in spring workouts last year.
“My initial reaction was that I was very shocked [head coach Amanda Shingleton] put me in the middle. I didn’t have a high vertical. I looked at her like, ‘Is she serious?’ She looked back at me and I could tell she was serious,” Madden recalled.
At 5-9, Madden considers herself shorter than average for a middle blocker, but she has dramatically improved her vertical jump. Since the end of her physical therapy, she said she’s grown about three inches.
As a varsity player overcoming scoliosis, though, she’s also become a bit of a role model for other children with similar physical hurdles.
“I love kids and love to inspire them to keep on going. It will be better in the end,” Madden said of talking to other kids in the physical therapy rooms when she was at Cook Children’s for her therapy.
“It’s a good feeling to make someone feel better and tell them that everything will be OK.”
Helping Madden make the cut to the varsity level of conditioning, she has become a CrossFit participant in the summer months and looks forward to getting back to the rigorous regimen after the season.
“She stepped into a starting role in a new position. She’s making big strides competitively for us,” Shingleton said.
Maybe Madden’s ongoing challenge may still be getting others to correctly pronounce her first name, though.
Pronounced as Cure-e-ay, Madden said her mother told her she went to high school with a girl with that name but she was unsure how it was spelled.
“Of course she gave me the most difficult spelling ever,” Madden said.