Remarkable Royal: Autumn Dionne overcame three ACL tears to lead Georgetown girls basketball
Autumn Dionne had a goal this basketball season: play.
It sounds like a simple goal, but for the Georgetown High senior who has had three torn ACLs – the last requiring two surgeries – it wasn’t by any means.
Dionne’s latest tear required a bone graph surgery and an ACL repair. She was looking at a nine to 12 month recovery process after her last surgery. The later end of that time span would have cost her the entire senior season for the Royals. After missing her entire junior season due to injury, she was desperate to get back on the court.
She set her sights on a nine-month recovery process. For Dionne, there was no other option.
“My doctor was telling me it was a nine to 12 month recovery,” said Dionne. “I got a trainer and we made the goal to get cleared in nine months. I thought I would get to play 10 games.”
Instead, Dionne played 17, served as Georgetown’s captain and averaged 12.1 points per game. She was among the area’s top shooters, making 37 three pointers, and added 41 steals, 70 rebounds while posting three games with 20 or more points, including a career-high 27 points against Rockport on Feb. 7.
On a team who had lost two other key players to their own ACL tears, Dionne was a bright light.
“When she hit the floor, she hit it with zero reservations about her knee and brought it every day in practice, in every drill, and during games she was our first, second and third option,” said first-year Georgetown head coach Kevin Fair.
“I feel like my leg is stronger than ever,” said Dionne.
Dionne’s tenaciousness in the face of adversity was inspirational to her teammates, most of whom were brand new to the varsity squad. When Dionne spoke, they would listen. Even though she hadn’t stepped on the court against the Cape Ann League’s best since her sophomore year, where she led her team in scoring, she knew exactly how to motivate her team before each game.
“Going into our games, playing the hard teams like Masconomet and Pentucket, I would tell the team not to be down on each other,” said Dionne. “Don’t go into the game thinking we’re going to lose by 80. Go into it thinking we can do our best.”
Dionne led Georgetown in what she considers their best win of the season was against Rockport in early February. The Royals, who had seen the Vikings two other times this winter, recorded a 47-36 victory against them at home.
“We played a full four quarters against them,” recalls Dionne, who scored 27 points in the game. “We executed every play. We went into the half down 10, and I told the team at halftime that we can win that game.”
The Royals finished the season 3-17, but Dionne achieved her goal of making it to the court and leading her team. She hopes that she hasn’t seen her last competitive basketball game. Dionne is speaking to three schools at the moment with the hope of extending the career she worked so hard for: St. Joseph’s, Salem State and Framingham State.
“I would still love to play basketball,” said Dionne. “I would love for someone to give me a chance.”
Dionne, who also manages Georgetown’s girls soccer team and serves as the school’s Yearbook editor, intends on majoring in biology and wants to become an orthopedic physician’s assistant.
“After my first ACL tear, I decided that that is what I wanted to do for a career,” said Dionne.
In her future career, she hopes to help patients with her personal experience. She wants to help motivate anyone else along the same long road of ACL tear recovery.
“It may seem difficult to overcome, but you can do it,” said Dionne. “Your doctors and your therapists and your trainers will help you. I want people to know it’s just a bump in the road.”