By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TVBy Paula Ebben

BOSTON (CBS) – Today, for the first time, a star college tennis player who was terribly injured in the Boston Marathon bombings, is back on the court, playing hard. This time as a teacher.

It’s an important milestone for Kaitlynn Cates. Her doctors just cleared her to play tennis at high intensity. “I haven’t played at the level that I played today since before the marathon, over a year and a half ago,” she says.

Related: Marathon Bombing – The Road Ahead

Kaitlynn nearly lost her leg when the first bomb went off. “I lost 30% of my right calf,” she says. After more than a year of surgeries and rehab, this day has finally come. “I feel great. I’m definitely out of shape, that’s for sure,” she says.

A champion when she played tennis for Suffolk University, Cates gave her first clinic today at the Willowbend Country Club in Mashpee. Tennis players from Mashpee High School were the beneficiaries.

“I think it’s really inspiring, how nothing can stop you,” says Jeff Demanche. “It’s just really cool to see her out there playing,” adds Alex Westcott.

“It’s just really a special moment and a big life lesson,” says Curt Nitzche.

For Kaitlynn, the road back has been long. “Definitely a lot of ups and downs. My end goal was to always get back on the court teaching and playing competitively again,” Kaitlynn says. “I feel like my recovery has come full circle. I’m coaching and playing again and hopefully, come Spring, I’ll be competitive again,” she adds.

Kaitlynn has also started assistant coaching at Mt. Ida College.


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