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 Wednesday, October 18
Pointer playing again after vision scare
 
 Associated Press

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Tasha Pointer could have talked about Rutgers' chances for a national championship.

The topic rarely came up. It didn't seem important, not after Pointer spent weeks this summer wondering whether she would ever play basketball again after being shot in the left eye by a teen-ager with a BB gun near her home in Chicago.

It took weeks for the senior point guard to regain her sight, and it was even longer before the BB could be removed.

Surgery to remove the BB was performed last month. Today the BB sits on her desk at school in a plastic cup as a daily reminder of how life can change in the blink of an eye.

"I just started playing last Saturday," Pointer said Wednesday during the team's media day. "That in itself is amazing to know that with one blink of an eye I could have been blind in my left eye and I probably would not have been able to play the game I have loved so much.

"It's hard when you think of 13 long years of playing basketball and all the sudden it can be taken away from you in a couple of seconds just because someone felt the need to do something stupid. I guess that was his way of having fun."

Pointer, who helped Rutgers to the Final Four last season and was one of 10 finalists for the Nancy Lieberman-Cline award as the nation's top point guard, talked about the July 11 incident.

She was walking home with a friend from a playground pickup game. As she neared her home, she was behind a couple of other women.

Things get a little fuzzy at that point.

The teen-ager got into an argument with the women in front of Pointer and fired his BB gun at them. It hit Pointer in the left eye, tearing the outer muscle of her eyelid and lodging against the eyeball. The inner muscle was not torn.

"The whole thing was scary," Pointer said. "I didn't know how much I was bleeding. I knew I was shot. I knew I couldn't see, but I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know if I would be blind for sure. I wasn't even thinking about playing basketball. I was worried about my vision."

Pointer put her hand over her eye, walked home and then was taken to an emergency room. She was treated and released a couple of hours later. Police arrested two men in connection with the shooting.

Weeks later, her vision partially returned. With time, the blurriness improved and now everything is clear.

What hasn't gone away is the frustration and anger Pointer experiences when she recalls the incident.

"I could probably find the kid who did it to me, but what's the point to get emotionally worked up for something that has passed," she said. "I think most importantly I forgave him and God forgave him. I have to move on. I can't dwell on the past. Everything happens for a reason. Therefore I think this season will be great."

Pointer will have to wear goggles while playing because she is at greater risk for injury if hit in the eye again. Getting used to them has been tough, because they hurt her face and they fog.

However, the incident and another involving coach C. Vivian Stringer's 16-year-old son, Justin, have taught Pointer to appreciate what she has.

Stringer's son was involved in an automobile accident in early September and was in a coma for two days. He is just about ready to return to high school.

"There have been so many life lessons since July 11 to today," Pointer said. "No one can ever imagine how much pain I have been through, but at the same time how much joy I had because it taught me something."

As far as basketball, Pointer's goals haven't changed.

"Our goal has always been to win the national championship," she said.

 


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