Scherer, who has scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, alerted the national team training staff. Doctors discovered three of her lower lumbar vertebrae had deteriorated and become herniated. Physical therapy was not enough and she withdrew from competition and underwent her first surgery in late September 2014, about six months after she garnered the World Cup bronze medal.
She needed a second surgery in March on her lower back. Also, four vertebrae in her neck are herniated but do not require surgery. There is no known cause, beyond genetics, she said. She is pretty matter of fact about it.
"I have always had days where there is pain," she said. "That's life with scoliosis. I have more accelerated disc degeneration than most. Scoliosis doesn't help."
After the second surgery, she was considering retirement from competitive shooting. But three months later, Bangkok announced it would add a March 2016 World Cup event, giving the Colorado Springs resident a second international competition during the 2015-16 season she could use to qualify for the Olympics.
A strong showing this weekend and in Bangkok should be enough to reach Rio, Scherer said. She resumed practice Sept. 26 and her body held up well. She was cleared by her doctors to compete Oct. 28.
She competed in a small event two weeks ago but this weekend will be her first top-tier competition.
"I know I will do better that the first time I came to compete at the OTC (as a teen)," she said. "I was in such awe about being at the center that I finished second to last; only because the women who did was ill and vomiting in between shoots."
Scherer has reason to be confident. Her skills did not erode while away from the range and a few practices helped her regain her consistency.
She also knows she has overcome much. A fractured elbow from a fall a few weeks before the London Olympics did not keep her from competing. The driven competitor placed seventh and set herself up as one of the sport's rising stars.
That was only two years after her older brother, Stephen, who she learned the sport alongside for a decade, died in 2010, two years after he competed in the 2008 Olympics. Putting that kind of pain behind her was a sterner test than back problems.
"I am confident I will do well," she said. "I have done everything I can to be ready and as long as my body holds up I should be right there with everyone else."
This surprise second chance gave the 2013 national champion, who prides herself on having an active life beyond shooting, a different perspective. Instead of expecting to compete for years to come, she is enjoying every minute she has in the sport she first learned with an old BB gun at age 9.
"I could slip and fall on the ice and it could be over," she said. "A sneeze could cause a disc to slip. I have an attitude now that I will compete as long as my body allows me. I am going to enjoy every minute."
Source : Gazette , 3rd Dec 2015