Saturday’s Oregon women’s basketball year-end banquet made Megan Trinder pause. After team trainer Tori Noda called her post-surgery infection life-threatening, Trinder realized just how much she’s overcome in two years.
“That’s when I was like, ‘Oh my gosh,'” Trinder said of Noda’s remarks before the crowd. “That’s so serious. It made me think that my life is bigger than basketball.
“Obviously I’ve played since I was 5 so it’s been a huge part of my life. I’m super sad to not play but I just think it’s the right decision for my future. … I just want to be completely healthy.”
Trinder, who has one year of NCAA eligibility remaining, has decided to graduate in August with a sociology degree and retire from collegiate basketball. Trinder, a 5-foot-7 guard, called it a challenging decision.
In February, Trinder opted to participate in senior day activities but left the door open to a return in 2017-18. The program said her availability for next season would be decided at a later time.
Trinder’s infection demanded strong antibiotics, which were administered three times a day for a month.
Head coach Kelly Graves said it’s tough knowing all Trinder went through as a student-athlete.
“It’s a tragedy, really,” Graves said. “She’s such a great person, through and through — and our heart and soul in a lot of ways. I’m sad. I’m sick that she didn’t have a chance to put together a full season at any point.”
Trinder said she’s grateful basketball has taken her across the world — and given her the chance to earn a degree — even though injuries spoiled her two years at Oregon.
“I really can’t thank everyone enough for what they’ve done for me,” Trinder said. “My [junior college] coach, now my coaches at Oregon, my family, and all my coaches back home — everyone’s given me the opportunity. For that I’m so grateful.”
Trinder said she’s looking forward to one day playing pick-up games or teaching her children the fundamentals.
“I want to be able to run and jump and be active as a mom when I’m 50,” Trinder said. “That’s when I really started thinking that my life is so much bigger. I have such a long way of life left.”
The Ducks, who advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time in program history, brought Trinder along for the March Madness ride. She traveled to Durham, North Carolina, and Bridgeport, Connecticut, and took in every moment.
“To see them do what they did to finish, it was just so amazing,” Trinder. “Although I didn’t play — people dream of the tournament. And there’s such a small percentage of the world that gets to experience that.”
Graves supports Trinder’s decision.
“I think she made a good decision,” he said. “She’s going to graduate and move on and lead a great life. She’s going to be successful at whatever she does.”
Trinder said support from her boyfriend, men’s guard Dylan Ennis, and Noda has left her eternally grateful.
“I just don’t think that I would be able to do the rehab again,” Trinder said. “That was really my main reason. That’s what it really came down to. I want to be active forever.”
GRATEFUL! I have officially decided to step away from college basketball. After weeks and weeks of deep thought it turned out to be one of the hardest choices I’ve ever had to make. I believe this is the best decision for me and my future. After 2 ACLS and a life threatening infection it has been a very hard journey for me but it has shown me that there is so much more to life than basketball. I will be forever GRATEFUL for where it has taken me and the people I have met.. I mean I met the love of my life, I can’t complain about that!! THANK YOU to everyone that has been there with me on this journey!! One incredible chapter closed and I am so excited for the future!!
Follow Jonathan Hawthorne on Twitter @Jon_Hawthorne