Georgia's Alley Cutting Battles Through Injury In Last Season
As she likes to put it, Alley Cutting is practically holding her body together with duct tape and WD-40. In the midst of her last season of softball ever, a torn rotator cuff isn’t stopping her from enjoying the game that raised her.
After pitching for three years at Kennesaw State and transferring to the University of Georgia, Cutting noticed in early 2020 that her arm wasn’t feeling normal. While throwing bullpens, her arm popped out of place, which led to an order for an MRI. What was found was that her injury may have been built over years of pitching time.
“(The doctors) think I actually hurt it at Kennesaw, but with all of the activity I had been doing and different pitching motions, I just aggravated it really bad,” Cutting said. “I have a 95% torn rotator cuff, partially torn labrum and my bicep tendon is very stretched.”
Everything is different for her now. She can’t do as much as Georgia's younger players can during practices, and she must save her arm so she can still perform on game days.
“When I first heard that, I thought my softball career was over,” Cutting said. “Going into the next season, I just kept that mindset of going out there and leaving it all on the field. I didn't know if my arm was going to make it through the season.”
Cutting didn’t think twice about continuing on with grad school and playing ball at UGA this year. There was still work to complete on the field. Due to COVID-19 unraveling, she was able to reevaluate her future and rest her arm before returning to the mound.
“I had dedicated so much time to this sport and when COVID hit, it was a total shock for me,” Cutting said. “I wasn't done yet. I didn't want my last game that I played in the 2019-2020 season to be my last. I wanted to come back, give it one last shot, one last hurrah and leave everything I genuinely had out on the field.”
This season has brought with it a lot of emotion for Cutting. With every game comes a series of lasts. During Georgia’s big win over previously-undefeated Oklahoma earlier this season, Cutting took the experience in with fellow grad student Mary Wilson Avant.
“I will always remember that moment of standing up on the bench and observing it all,” Cutting said. “Looking around at the girls and seeing the other players totally buying into what we were doing and watching them have fun. Mary and I both looked at each other and we got teary-eyed.”
Not only has Georgia brought her some of her best years of softball, but it has also opened up new doors for her career path. Gaining a degree in Educational Psychology, or even going to college in the first place, was not necessarily in the cards for Cutting, or so she thought. But with her support system around her, softball brought her several opportunities that have changed her life for the better.
“Softball has really developed me not only as a player, but as a person,” Cutting said. “I have always been Alley Cutting, the softball player. I don't know who I am going to be after softball. I know that softball doesn't define me, but it has literally been the vehicle to help me achieve and obtain all of the goals I have wanted to set for myself.”
With the end of her time at Georgia on the horizon, Cutting has high hopes for her future in psychology and softball.
“I specifically got into psychology because of mental health issues and wanting to learn more about mental illness,” Cutting said. “I hope to work in schools as a guidance counselor and help kids in need and maybe be a softball coach if the opportunity arises.”