Abby DeMuse fights through ACL injury

DeMuse missed Minnesota’s season opener on Jan. 13.

by Erik Nelson

Senior Abby DeMuse cheered on her teammates in Minnesota’s first meet of the season — a victory over Maryland, Northern Illinois and Winona State on Jan. 13. DeMuse was at Maturi Pavilion that day, only she did not compete.

DeMuse had to recover from an ACL injury she suffered last year. She competed in five meets last season, and battled back this year to match that total, including the last three consecutive meets where she has been in the vault lineup for the Gophers.

“We come in every day, and I always have a rotation with physical therapy making sure that I stay as strong as possible,” DeMuse said. “It’s important to make sure that the joints and muscles surrounding previous injuries or even brand new ones are as strong as possible in order to make it through the sport.”

DeMuse made her season debut on Jan. 20 against Michigan. In her most recent meet, she scored a season-high 9.825 on vault for a fifth-place finish at the Big Five Meet on March 17.

Senior Ciara Gardner said DeMuse’s love of gymnastics helps her recover.

“She has a strong mindset and passion for the sport,” Gardner said. “It’s all that in one that’s help her recover and be able to come back.”

In 2016, DeMuse finished tied for 15th on vault at the NCAA Championships in Fort Worth, Texas, earning a score of 9.8375. That appearance, her sophomore year, was the only time she has competed in the NCAA Championships.

As her career has gone on, DeMuse said she isn’t able to physically handle competing in every event anymore.

“I always want to come in and do as much as possible. That’s been the biggest hurdle in my career,” DeMuse said. “My coaches have been understanding with what I’m capable of doing. If it’s a day where I can’t do gymnastics, they’re OK with it because they know that I will do anything I can in order to do my best in this sport.”

DeMuse has competed in gymnastics for 19 years now. In her sophomore season, DeMuse competed in each event — vault, bars, floor and beam — sometimes doing all-around for Minnesota. She has only been doing the vault in her senior year.

Head coach Jenny Hansen said she believes DeMuse has worked hard in order to battle through this injury.

“She’s in a lot of pain every day,” Hansen said. “She’s done a great job. It hasn’t been an easy road. She never gives up. She keeps working no matter what.”

Minnesota is in the evening session of the Big Ten Championships on Saturday in Champaign, Illinois at 7 p.m.

DeMuse said she is grateful for the support she has received the past four seasons.

“Knowing that I’ve made it four years and that my coaches trust me helped my confidence,” DeMuse said. “These past four years have prepared me for this time. I don’t need to do the numbers. I need to remember that I trust myself and I trust my training.”