Bonsu: ‘Picture perfect’

(Photo by Kha Vo, photo manipulation by Kate Turner)
(Photo by Kha Vo, photo manipulation by Kate Turner)

Doreen Bonsu knows how to play with spirit.

The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawk women’s basketball forward was honoured with the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Tracy McLeod award last week, which is given to an athlete who shows outstanding determination, perseverance and unwavering spirit throughout the year.

“It’s humbling to be recognized, because I had my share of ups and downs,” said the fourth-year history and English major, who dealt with a major concussion for the majority of her third and into her fourth year. “It feels good to know that I’m being recognized so people can have a sense to understand how my past year has been. It was difficult, for me personally.”

Bonsu is the second Laurier student to be recognized for this award in as many years.

Last year, fifth-year captain Amber Hillis received the award after dealing with multiple injuries to her body.

“Just goes to show you that coach [Paul Falco] recruits people that are determined and persevere,” Bonsu said.

On top of the concussion, Bonsu also dealt with spraining both of her ankles, a tailbone injury during her first year and patella tendonitis, also known as “jumper’s knee.”

She also understands the importance of having a support system to aid her in her recovery every step of the way.

“For me, my concussions mentally, it was really hard … It was my third year, most people with concussions usually last a month, they’re fine. But after three months, after six months I was still having symptoms of waking up with pounding headaches,” Bonsu explained.

“The offseason as an athlete is crucial to your success during the season because that’s when you build your foundation of strength and working on your skills so I missed out on that.”

“That was really mentally and emotionally straining for me, but I had the support of my close friends and my teammates and my coach so that was important too.”

Her hard work paid off in her final season with the Hawks. Bonsu was able to accumulate an impressive 95 points after missing the majority of the first half of the season, with 43 offensive rebounds and 56 defensive rebounds. She finished her career with 419 points, 208 offensive and 262 defensive rebounds.

When Bonsu was asked how she would describe her year, she explained it with two words: picture perfect.

“In October I had a doctor tell me that I shouldn’t be in school, yet alone be playing basketball, and then I overcame that. I’m playing now by God’s grace,” she said.

For an athlete who dealt with injury for the majority of her career, Bonsu is excited that she gets to end her four-year tenure on a high note, as the Hawks are headed to Windsor this weekend for the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) national championship.

“I come in my first year, I go to nationals. I leave as a senior, I’m going to nationals. Who can ask for a better ending for their career?”

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