Car Accident, Several Injuries Haven’t Stopped Thiel’s Hannah Stoneman

By Justin Zackal


Thiel senior forward Hannah Stoneman.

At 8 o’clock in the morning on November 25, 2011, Hannah Stoneman was sound asleep after spending the predawn hours finding Black Friday shopping deals. She just happened to be in her green Honda Civic, in the driver’s seat, crossing the centerline of a busy highway near her home in Berlin, Ohio, and in the direction of a large utility van.

“It was the worst way to wake up ever,” Stoneman said. “I hit him head-on and kind of just spun my car around. My car was facing the other direction and my dash was like on top of me.”

Not known to have lapses of consciousness, Stoneman was scheduled to have her wisdom teeth extracted later that afternoon and was without food or water for 12 hours to prepare for the procedure, attributing to the accident.

“I just remember waking up and first thinking I can move my toes, so thank the Lord I’m not paralyzed,” said Stoneman, who had to be removed from the car by emergency responders with the Jaws of Life. “That was one of the first thoughts I had. It was really scary.”

Stoneman’s injuries were not life threatening. However, instead of having dental surgery that afternoon, Stoneman underwent emergency knee surgery on her patella tendon.

She was already sitting out that basketball season, her senior year at Hiland High School, because of chronic back spasms and two bulging discs. With six months to recover from the knee surgery, Stoneman’s basketball career would most certainly be over.

Four years, another knee injury and a fractured ankle later, Stoneman is currently a senior forward on the Thiel College basketball team, averaging 7.6 points and 5.2 rebounds and, most importantly, playing in all 13 of the Tomcats’ games this year.

Stoneman averages 7.6 ppg and leads Thiel with 67 rebounds.

Stoneman averages 7.6 ppg and leads Thiel with 67 rebounds.

“My main goal is to not get hurt, so that would be really awesome to go a whole season without getting a serious injury,” said Stoneman, who missed parts of her freshman year with a knee bone bruise and last year with a chip fracture in her ankle. “It was just really neat that I could come back and help the team and contribute, because I wasn’t sure I’d be able to contribute in the first place.”

With her basketball future in serious doubt after the car accident, Stoneman said she was depressed until Angie Zeuch, Thiel’s coach at the time, expressed interest.

“She had called me and was like, ‘Would you be interested in playing?,’” Stoneman recalled. “I said, ‘I don’t think you want me, I have this huge knee brace and I’m on crutches,’ and she was like, ‘No, if you can push through that and do some therapy and recover then we would love to have you on the team.’ So once I knew someone had some kind of interest in me still, that was very motivational.”

Doing therapy takes up much of Stoneman’s time, at least an hour a day, including ice baths, heat and electrical stimulation. She fondly calls Thiel’s athletic trainers her “best friends,” including Joe Zidar, who’s worked with her since her freshman year. Stoneman is likely the student-athlete in the PAC who’s had the most treatment over a four-year span.

Is it worth it?

“It’s definitely worth it,” Stoneman said. “It’s a lot of work and my body probably hates me, but I love my team and coaches (Rob Clune and Rianne Thornton).”

To hear more about Stoneman’s story, tune in to the PAC Sports Network’s broadcast of the Thiel-Grove City game on Saturday, January 16, at 1 p.m. Stoneman will be interviewed by the PAC Sports Network’s Randy Gore at halftime. Also, find out which family member of Stoneman’s played professional basketball and who she thinks is the better player.