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November 19, 2010 04:41 PM
Carl Bigby of the USTA Northern 6.0 Mixed Doubles team at the 2010 USTA League 6.0, 8.0 & 10.0 Mixed National Championships.
By Kevin Wittner

TUCSON, Ariz. – Some tennis players wait their whole lives to have a chance at a USTA League National Championship.  Last year, Carl Bigby of the USTA Northern Section had that shot.  Nationals had just begun.  First match, second set.  And then disaster struck – a pain down his left leg.  Carl had torn his meniscus.

After tragedy had struck and taken a life from one of his teammates earlier in the season, Bigby was one of only three men on the Lakeville, Minn., team to travel to the Mixed Doubles championship.  While he tried to play through the injury, Bigby’s mobility was severely limited, and Northern lost all of its matches.

Less than two weeks later and a short stint of rehabilitation, Bigby was back on the court.  Determined, Bigby and his teammates wasted no time working to get back to nationals.  Within three months, he tore his right meniscus.

The new injury was more problematic than the first.

"The second knee took me over six months because of (fluids)," Bigby said.  "I had it drained twice – actually just Tuesday before we came out here."

Twice-a-week physical therapy and a series of mixers and drills slowly but surely kept Bigby on the road to recovery.

Bigby, a network administrator, said that ultimately the opportunity to return to nationals provided motivation.

"It gives you a little more determination," Bigby said.  "You know (the team is) going to go back so the determination was to get back and be a part of the team."

Bigby says he let his teammates take the brunt of the load during the season.

"(My recovery was) a lot of hobbling around, letting my teammates carry me and play most of the matches," Bigby said  "I got some of the qualifying matches in, but they had to step it up and play most of the matches." 

With that in mind, Bigby is back and ready to take the reins and cease the moment for his team.

"It’s a great venue and you want to play in it," he says.

Bigby is playing, and he could not be happier about it.