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Adam Charalambides returns to offensive supremacy

Sophomore attack Adam Charalambides seems to be at the top of the game, considering he is currently the third-highest scorer in the Big Ten with 30 goals through 10 games. He has established  himself as the main offensive threat for a Rutgers men's lacrosse team fighting for its first NCAA Tournament spot since 2004. 

You’d never know from watching him that he’s coming off of two consecutive ACL tears. 

Heading into the 2017 season, Charalambides was looking to build off an outstanding freshman campaign that saw him net 43 goals and 14 assists. His scoring punch helped the No. 18 Scarlet Knights (6-4, 1-0) finish with a 11-5 record in 2016, and earned him the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award. The future was bright for Rutgers, and Charalambides was one of the main reasons why.

Everything changed on the third day of preseason camp in January. Charalambides was participating in an offensive drill when he did an inside roll and felt a pop in his knee. He didn’t feel a lot of pain, but the training staff took him out of practice to do some tests. 

When they came back, he was diagnosed with an ACL tear that would keep him sidelined for the entire 2017 season.

Once the shock of the news wore off, the focus for Charalambides shifted to a long recovery process. He had to spend the next three weeks on crutches, fighting every day to learn how to walk again. For the next three months after that, he spent every day restrengthening his legs just to get to the point where he could jog again.

“The hardest part was not being able to do anything on my own,” Charalambides said. “I felt so helpless.”

His recovery went well, and it looked as if the Knights would get one of college lacrosse’s best young attackers back in their starting lineup for 2018. 

In an early preseason practice, Charalambides drew hard contact while shoving a defender during an attacking drill and went to the ground hard. In a cruel twist of fate, he had torn the ACL in his other knee, and had to miss the entire season again.

Suffering one ACL tear was tough enough for Charalambides, but two was an unprecedented challenge. He had spent the better part of  a year returning to health, only to have to start all over again.

Having to go through the entire rehab process was tough for Charalambides, and losing another season to injury made him question whether he even had a future on the banks.

“I began to question whether or not I would be able to keep playing and keep my scholarship,” Charalambides said.

What kept him going was the support of his teammates, who went out of their way to offer support. 

“Having great teammates was a big help in the process,” Charalambides said. “Guys would check in on me frequently and bring me food and drinks.”

There’s no doubt that the last two years has been a rollercoaster ride for Charalambides. But the arduous recovery process is now in the rearview mirror, and he doesn’t seem to have lost a step. 

And with two medical redshirts, Charalambides is set to continue leading Rutgers on the lacrosse field until 2021.

Once preoccupied with a long recovery, Charalambides now only has one thing on his mind: leading the Knights to the postseason yet again.

For updates on the Rutgers men's lacrosse team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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