MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnehaha Academy junior Sara Kaminski shoots baskets with her father. The last of four athletic siblings, she has built quite a resume; a three-sport athlete whose first love is basketball.

But maybe it is what Adrian Peterson demonstrated in his MVP season that makes this story remarkable.

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See, she came back from not one, but two ACL surgeries.

“The first one was probably harder than the second one because, you know, as your first experience you don’t really know what it is, you don’t really know what kind of journey you’re on. Eight months seems like forever,” Sara said. “And then the second one, you’re kind of a pro at it.”

And she didn’t just come back. She has scored over 1,000 points in her career — even though she’s missed almost two years.

“It’s an opportunity for her to look forward, it’s an opportunity for the whole team,” her father, Stephen Kaminski, said. “At Crossfire (AAU team) … we’ve used it as ability for us to share our faith; not just within the team and within our group, [but] to other people who see it.”

What it means to do this is about a will to make sure you can rise above the circumstance; that there is a way to overcome, and you sense that is part of her DNA.

“It is a lot of discipline and getting your mind retrained to having your entire life kind of evolve around your knees and your injuries, and keep putting that first instead of, like, going to hang out with friends,” Sara said.

She now plays for a Crossfire AAU team, a team that combines basketball with a spiritual side of life. It is her opportunity to prove a good surgeon and an acceptance of life’s curvy balls can be part of a plan.

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“There’s a lot of people who will stop you or stop me or someone and say, ‘How’s she doing?’ And it gives the girls or the parents or the coaches the ability to say, ‘You know what, she’s doing great, thank you, and by the way, this isn’t the worst thing that can happen in someone’s life. This is just one step. And we rely on a lot of things, including our faith to be strong through it,'” Stephen said.

Her future plans are to also prove she is past the injury, and ready to play in college — perhaps better because of the battle.

“Just getting back and getting more confident as I progress with my skills, because I’m trying to, I mean, I lost two years so I’m trying to make up for what everybody has,” Sara said.

What makes this story interesting is that she has come back with attitude and the help of a surgeon named Brad Nelson.

“Through both the times, she’s shown a lot of toughness and discipline,” Stephen said. “What’s amazing for a girl that age is she shows the maturity to be able to accept what happened. And frankly, you know, it’s fairly traumatic and devastating to her, and at the end of the day she takes a step back and says, ‘OK, this is where I’m at, and we need to move forward.'”

And she knows this about herself: When you are alone and wondering about the future, waiting to get better, you find out a few things about who you really are.

“I learned that I don’t really like doing physical therapy that much (laughs),” Sara said. “That daytime TV is not for me. That I really have a lot of great friends.”

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Mike Max