Home Local Sports TEAMWORK: Lindsey, Sampson continue journeys back from ACL injuries

TEAMWORK: Lindsey, Sampson continue journeys back from ACL injuries

Jamyia Lindsey (left) and Kyla Sampson have teamed up to overcome the adversity of ACL injuries together. (Kyle Pillar, sports editor)

ROCKINGHAM — Neither Jamyia Lindsey nor Kyla Sampson wanted to endure serious knee injuries, but the two Richmond Senior High School basketball players have worked through the adversity together.

Although they haven’t been able to compete on the hardwood for the Lady Raiders this season, Lindsey and Sampson have put in dozens of hours of practice and rehabilitation as they battle back from anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears.

Sampson, a senior guard, suffered two tears in her right knee in the past 14 months. She tore it the first time in Oct. 2021, resulting in her missing her entire junior season, and again this past March.

During a travel tournament in Iowa in July, Lindsey also tore her right ACL. The injury to her knee sidelined her after a breakout freshman season that saw her lead the Sandhills Athletic Conference in scoring with 23.5 points per game.

But now the light is shining brighter at the end of the tunnel for both players, as Sampson found out Monday that she will be able to return to competition this week for the first time since Feb. 2021.

“I’m excited to finally play again,” Sampson said. “It’s a big step, and coming in as a senior, I want to step up and be a leader. I want to be vocal and show the team how to be aggressive and play the way we want to play.

“It’s been a rollercoaster, both mentally and physically,” she added of her journey. “But coming in and being with the whole team, the family aspect is what really motivated me not to give up.”

Senior Kyla Sampson pulls up for a jumper against Jamyia Lindsey during practice. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

Lindsey, the reigning SAC player of the year and a sophomore point guard, still has some more time left on her rehab, but could return to the court by season’s end.

She’s scheduled to be evaluated in mid January, and her initial timeline to return was nine months, putting her back on the floor in April. 

Taneika Reader, an assistant coach with Richmond and Lindsey’s mom, said an early return depends on her progress and how much mobility and strength Lindsey has in her right leg.

“My recovery has been going well and it’s really been better than I thought it would be,” Lindsey explained. “Time is flying and I’ve been working a lot with Coach (Mitch) Hadinger to get better.

“The most challenging part of this has been watching the team dress out those first couple of home games and not being able to play,” she added. “But I’ve been working on my shooting and free throws, and the closer I get to January, the more intense my workouts become.”

Sampson and Lindsey have been participating in team practices, following guidelines to ensure a healthy return. Lindsey still isn’t able to cut with her footwork and has been doing everything in a straight line.

Head coach Teddy Moseley noted the team is excited for Sampson’s return this week, and said both players have been crucial in helping the Lady Raiders improve this season despite being limited to the bench.


“They ‘ve been helping with the coaching duties with our guards,” Moseley said. “They see different things on the sidelines and relay that information back to the players. Kyla and Jamyia have both fulfilled coaching and leadership roles.

“It’s been a bittersweet experience because we’d like them to be on the court helping the team,” he continued. “But they work hard every day under their circumstances and I know both are ready to be back, especially Kyla since it’s her senior season.”

With the team set to play in the Cumberland County Holiday Classic this week, Moseley noted Sampson’s “minutes will be very limited” to get her back into the speed of the game. But he expects her “confidence and swagger” to give the team a boost.

During her COVID-19 shortened sophomore season, Sampson averaged 7.5 points per game in 10 games. Not only does she command the floor well as a point guard, Sampson also has the ability to shoot the ball well from beyond the arc.

“Having Jamyia go through the same injury as me helped me out a lot because a lot of people don’t understand how bad it is until they go through it themselves,” Sampson said. 

“Yeah, this hasn’t been fun, but we both understand what we’re going through and have used that to push each other and make us better.”

Lindsey echoed those sentiments, adding that “having Kyla as a practice partner has allowed both of us a chance to get more prepared. It’s made everything easier.

“I’m motivated more and more every day to get back on the court,” Lindsey explained. “I’m motivated by watching the team play and the desire to help them as much as possible. I also know a lot of fans have been asking when I’ll be back, so I want to play for them, too.”

After leading the Lady Raiders to their first conference championship in 12 years last season, Lindsey received an offer from North Carolina A&T State University, as well as interest from Western Kentucky University.

Sophomore Jamyia Lindsey works on dribbling drills as her mom and assistant coach Taneika Reader watches. (Kyle Pillar/The Richmond Observer)

Reader faces a unique dynamic as a parent and a coach, wanting Lindsey to compete but also return when she’s fully ready.

“I’m most proud that she hasn’t given up,” Reader said. “Seeing her wanting to be in the gym and get shots up, that’s been great to see. Jamyia has worked on her jumper and has continued to find things to improve on. I’m also happy for Kyla, who will get the chance to get back on the court after a long journey.

“Both of them have been big supporters during their comebacks,” she added. “Jamyia has really learned a lot on the sidelines and has built up her basketball IQ. While she’s physically not all the way there yet, we’re excited to get back on the court.”

The Lady Raiders (2-5) will look to win their third straight game when they play Cape Fear High School (4-3) in the opening round of the holiday tournament on Tuesday. The game will be played at South View High School and start at 7 p.m.

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Kyle Pillar is a 16-time North Carolina Press Association award-winning sports editor with The Richmond Observer. Follow the sports department on Twitter @ROSports_ for the best in-depth coverage of Richmond County sports.