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Player Spotlight: WBB Anna Claire Atha


Getting to this season has not been an easy or normal journey for women’s basketball player Anna Claire Atha. She has played basketball all of her life. “Ever since I was a little girl I have loved the game and have spent the majority of my time in a basketball gym,” Atha said.

Atha, a Rome Georgia native, played for Darlington School throughout middle and high school where she ended up getting a few scholarship offers and wound up in Spartanburg, South Carolina at Wofford College. But, after experiencing terrible knee pain during her freshman season, she went in for exploratory surgery. She had already experienced tearing her ACL and Meniscus during eighth grade, so she had dealt with knee problems before. During the exploratory surgery, the doctors quickly realized that Atha did not have any cartilage and would need a meniscus transplant, “this news was terrible because it meant that I would probably never be able to play basketball again and would have to medically retire,” said Atha. She tried hard to cope with the news but was not quite ready to give up. After seeing a specialist, she was put on a transplant waitlist. She then underwent an 8-hour surgery to repair her knee.

“Honestly, after this surgery, I was initially just thankful to be out of pain and be able to walk normally again. But as I rehabbed, I began to realize that my dreams of playing again may not be over,” Atha said. Even though countless doctors had told her she was done with basketball, Atha on the other hand was not quite ready to give up playing the sport she had loved for so long. After a lot of work and conversations, Atha decided Wofford was no longer the place she needed to be, “I made the difficult decision to enter the transfer portal. I loved Wofford so much and LOVED my three years there, so it was very hard to leave. But I knew that I loved basketball more and was not ready to give it up” she said. 

After entering the transfer portal and having a conversation with UNG coaches, Atha decided it was the best fit for her. But another wrench was thrown in her plans as Atha tore her ACL after her very first practice at UNG. She would have to have her fifth knee surgery to repair it.  This was very hard for me to cope with at first- especially being at a new place where I came to play basketball. However, my new teammates and coaching staff were beyond supportive and encouraged me every step of the way” she said. 

Atha is finally back at 100% and ready to play this season. But through these trials, she has learned a lot.

“I think the biggest thing I’ve learned from all of my injuries is that I am more than a basketball player.” – Anna Claire Atha 

She has learned a lot about herself and said, “this season will be different from others because I will not take a single moment for granted.”

Atha and the rest of the lady Nighthawks will play at Georgia State University on Nov. 1 in their first game. She and the rest of the team are excited and ready for this new season as everything gets back to normal. 

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Player Spotlight: WBB Anna Claire Atha