TOWNSEND -- Looking at junior Madison Ozog's six-goal performance against Nashoba in the Lady Patriot lacrosse team's season-opener at Nashoba, it would be hard to believe that the same girl underwent surgery to repair three broken vertebrae in her back in early December.
Ozog was performing squats at a local gym when she felt a sharp crippling pain quiver down her spine. The doctors determined that it wasn't a compression factor, which is common in cases where someone lifts too much weight and puts strain on their back -- it was much more severe.
" The doctors said that I suffered a burst fracture, which is much worse than a compression fracture," Ozog said. "Essentially, I burst three vertebrae in my back, and it wasn't fun. I had to wear a brace for two months."
Ozog's doctor informed her that she had a 30-to-50 percent chance of paralization, but she was lucky enough to not suffer more permanent damage. Within a couple months, Ozog was back in the gym and training for the upcoming spring lacrosse season.
"I faced a lot of difficulty in those first couple weeks coming back," she said. "It was very painful, and I am still experiencing a lot of pain after practice and games. But, I do my best to ice it and take pain meds and play through it. The doctor said I am not doing anymore permanent damage by continuing to play."
Her injury is fully healed and the chances of injuring her back again have not increased.
When the Townsend native is not representing North Middlesex, she participates on the Revolution Club Lacrosse team. Ozog was discovered by Division 2 St. Leo University (Fla.) at the President's Cup club lacrosse showcase event in Orlando, Fla.
The net rippling junior, who scored 36 goals for the Lady Patriots in 2013, recently verbally committed to St. Leo University on a women's lacrosse scholarship. Ozog also received interest from Division-1 Mountain West Athletic Conference member, Fresno State, but the Patriot goal-scorer was not sold on what the Bulldogs had to offer. St. Leo University is located 35 miles north of Tampa. St.Leo's routinely plays non conference regional foe, Southern New Hampshire. The Sunshine State Athletic Conference is scheduled to add women's lacrosse to its list of sponsored sports in 2015.
"I had never heard of them before they contacted me after seeing me play at the President's Cup back in October," she said. "I had a pretty on tournament, and they contacted me. I have been in contact with them for a while now. I went down in March and visited the school and met with the coach -- I really liked it. It is one of the only two Division 2 schools that play women's lacrosse in Florida. It was a tough decision trying to envision where I would be in two years, but it is right around the corner."
Ozog based her decision on how comfortable she felt with St. Leo's coaches, and the school, itself, not the fact that it was Division 2.
"Everyone makes a big deal about going Division 1, but honestly, I don't think it really matters," she said. "Some Division 2 and 3 schools are better than Division 1 schools. What matters about where you go is where you feel you fit in."