Adams’ departure caused by recurring back injury


After three seasons at NIU, forward Mauvolyene Adams has decided not to return citing health problems.

By Jimmy Johnson

Mauvolyene Adams decided to start playing basketball when she was 6 years old.

Fast forward many years later, the NIU women’s basketball forward has made the difficult choice to close the book on her athletic career and the game she fell in love with after numerous and severe back problems.

The decision of whether to return first appeared during last season and had nothing to do with the arrival of new head coach Kathi Bennett, the departure of former head coach, Carol Owens, nor any issues with her Huskie teammates.

Adams’ back problems first occurred during the summer of her sophomore year, but she continued to play through the injury.

“I think this last season really took a toll on me,” Adams said. “I knew I had to make a decision and it came down to would I be able to make it through all the bus rides [and travel with the team]. This is a lower back [injury], so I’m on the bus in pain. It was a tough decision.”

Adams approached Owens towards the end of last season and expressed concerns about playing her senior year and brought it to her attention again in March. She attributed the pain to degenerative disc disease which is causing her to also experience pain in her legs and causing muscular spasms.

“At the end of the day, the doctor’s advice is the best and the best medicine is not to play, as much as I didn’t want to hear that,” Adams said. “My junior year it started getting worse and I didn’t know if I could make it through another year.”

The Bolingbrook native felt that it was in the best interest to leave the team for not only herself, but also her teammates.

“I didn’t want to be somebody holding everything back,” Adams said. “I definitely still support them.”

Adams said that she went through scenarios of coming back and playing with her teammates Marke Freeman, Ebony Ellis and the rest of the squad but soon realized that she needed to be realistic rather than optimistic.

“[I thought,] let me put myself in a position where we are on the way back from Ohio and we just played a hard game, and how do I feel,” she said. “Is it fair that the next two practices I say that I can’t go while my teammates are practicing? Those were the type of thoughts that were in my mind and kept me stable in my position and decision.”

Adams said that she has one year left until she graduates and is thankful that NIU Athletic Director Jeff Compher, Senior Associate Athletics Director Christian Spears, amd the rest of the NIU Athletic department allowed her to remain on scholarship.

“It shows the integrity of NIU athletics,” Adams said. “It shows, ‘hey, you came here, you did your best and the least that we can do is help you finish through and get your degree’ and I really appreciate that.”

Compher stated that athletes who have career-threatening injuries and still hold their athletic scholarship isn’t an uncommon occurrence.

“Her situation was a little bit unique because she only has one year left and we are committed to making sure she gets her degree and she graduates from NIU,” Compher said. “And that’s the most important thing to us for her in the long run.”

Adams noted that there weren’t any hard feelings between herself, Bennett and her former teammates and that she’ll continue to support everyone involved on and off the court.

“I told all of them, ‘I’m your friend first and your teammate second because we’re people and there’s more to life than just basketball,'” Adams said.