Isabella Flores returns to the Regals Basketball team after a year out with ACL injury


Photo by Alexa Weisbond - Reporter

Senior shooting guard Isabella Flores takes a free throw in practice, returning this fall for the first time since undergoing surgery in May 2021.

Alexa Weisbond, Reporter

Regals basketball shooting guard Isabella Flores tore her ACL during her first year at California Lutheran University. This injury required her to undergo surgery and take a year off from playing, which threatened her collegiate basketball career entirely. On Saturday, Nov. 12, Flores will return to action for the Regals in an exhibition against Hope International University. 

“My collegiate basketball career hasn’t gone the way I planned, but everything happens for a reason and I believe I was supposed to come back to end my career on a high note. Being able to be back after this very serious injury is something I am very thankful for. Having this opportunity is a blessing,” Flores said.  

Head Coach Kelli DiMuro said Flores maintained a positive attitude during and after her experience of tearing her ACL. 

“She is always so positive and such a great hard worker…I think it just kind of hurt her and she had so much on her plate that she decided to not play last year and then she came back for this year and we’re really excited to have her,” DiMuro said.

Flores said her family was her rock during this challenging experience.

“I really leaned on my family during this time. I was in a dark place and didn’t know why I had to go through this. I wouldn’t have gotten through it without them because they continued to show me that life has so much to offer. I had to find happiness despite what I was going through,” Flores said.

DiMuro also said Flores possesses a grit that is an important mindset for a player to have on the team.

“That’s a big thing for me. It shows determination, a will to come back, and I know she wants to win and she has a winning mentality so that’s really helpful, and for our team, we need leadership and she’s very mature and independent,” DiMuro said.

Although the injury is now behind her, Flores said it was one of the hardest things she has been through and is something she continues to wrestle with on a daily basis. 

“Mentally and physically it has taught me so much. The feeling of never being the player I used to be is something I battle every day. The mental fight in my head continues to go on, but I don’t let it stop me from working hard. It’s all a mental game and I think I am strong enough to overcome it,” Flores said.

Flores said she advises those who have gone through or going through a similar experience to not give up even though it may be difficult. 

“Don’t allow something that is out of your control destroy you. It’ll be hard but lean on your people, work hard and keep going. Everything happens for a reason and you are strong enough to get through it. In the end, it will teach you valuable life lessons,” Flores said.

Regals senior point guard Ashley Sahnazoglu said that Flores’ dedication and decision to come back to the team inspired everyone on it.  

 “It obviously lit somewhat of a fire in all of us to think like, you know, if after something like this that took her down for quite a bit of time, she was able to find the strength and, like, the courage to come back…it spoke volumes to who she is,” Sahnazoglu said. 

DiMuro said she is happy to have Flores back on the team and looks forward to her future contributions. 

“It’s really great having Izzy back. I talk about her all the time with the coaching staff, and again, it’s gonna take her some time to get in the flow of things but I think she’s gonna be a key part of our season this year, and hopefully our success,” DiMuro said.

This article was updated on Nov. 14 at 6:11 a.m. to correct the spelling of Kelli DiMuro’s name. We regret this error.