Take Five with USAV's Christa Harmotto

March 17, 2014, 6:35 a.m. (ET)

Every athlete experiences a setback during his or her career. That’s just part of sports.

But with every setback, there’s also a chance to come back.

Liberty Mutual Insurance sat down with USA Volleyball’s Christa Harmotto to get her thoughts on making a strong comeback from a setback.

In our exclusive Take 5 interview, Christa shared her challenges and lessons learned after suffering a torn ACL in her right knee. The injury occurred in 2005, late in her freshman season at Penn State. At first, she wasn’t sure how serious the injury was, but an MRI the next day revealed its full extent.

Christa told us the most frustrating thing about this injury was that it happened just two weeks before the start of the NCAA Playoffs. That meant Christa wouldn’t be able to help her Penn State teammates compete for a National Championship.

After working through her initial frustrations, Christa turned her focus to transforming her setback into a strong comeback. Her time spent rehabbing her knee taught her to be “more diligent, patient and focused,” and gave her the opportunity to work on gaining strength in other areas of her body and helping the team off the court. Christa says the whole experience “added another layer to who I was as an athlete and fueled my desire to come back and play at a higher level.”

Christa believes that “injuries are part of sport,” and that injuries and other setbacks also provide “the tools you need to make your comeback.” She advises young athletes who are dealing with injuries or other setbacks to always listen to the medical staff, rest, do your rehab exercises and do your best to be patient.

Christa also shared invaluable insight on “bouncing back” from “mental setbacks,” including a great story involving a 2006 NCAA Regional Finals loss to current USA Volleyball teammate Courtney Thompson, who was then playing for the Washington Huskies. She believes Penn State’s loss in that match helped renew her commitment to strong preparation and full appreciation of the moment – especially the really big and important moments.

To read the full Take 5 interview with Christa, visit ResponsibleSports.com. Come back next month for another exclusive Take 5 interview!

At Liberty Mutual Insurance, we constantly look for ways to celebrate the countless acts of responsibility shown by people every day. We created Responsible Sports, powered by Positive Coaching Alliance, as part of this belief to help ensure that our kids experience the best that sports have to offer in environments that promote and display responsibility. We believe kids can learn valuable life lessons when coaches and parents come together to support winning on and off the field.

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