• An Achilles tear is one of the worst injuries professional athletes can sustain
  • Breanna Stewart tore her Achilles in 2019
  • She has won three championships and Finals MVPs in just a year

Elite professional athletes around the world agree that an Achilles tear is one of the most devastating injuries one can sustain.

Returning to a ideal form—let alone recovering completely from the tear—is a challenging climb for those who have already suffered it.

In basketball, the likes of the late Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant, DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay, Wesley Matthews and Brandon Jennings all had the injury at one point in their careers, and they all never returned to the same high-level shape they once were known for.

Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant is perhaps an exception, taking the league by storm by leading his squad to the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference this NBA season.

He is averaging elite numbers: 27.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 5.3 assists on an efficient 55.3% field goal shooting, making people forget that two seasons ago, he suffered a nasty injury during the 2019 NBA Finals.

Surpassing Durant's impressive comeback is WNBA All-Star Breanna Stewart, who has won not only one but three titles, along with three Finals MVPs—all within a calendar year after returning from the injury.

One of the most decorated women's basketball athletes, Stewart tore her Achilles back in April 2019, subsequently missing the WNBA season that summer.

As seen in many cases, history did not favor Stewart's side, but the Seattle Storm forward bounced back in a way many experts would have deemed unthinkable.

In the 2020 WNBA "wubble" season, Stewart led the Storm to an 18-4 record before sweeping the Minnesota Lynx and Las Vegas Aces in the playoffs to win the crown.

Stewart was named Finals MVP, cementing a successful return while averaging 28.3 points (63% shooting) and 7.7 rebounds in the title series.

But the story did not end there. As WNBA players spend time overseas after the summer, Stewart played for Russian powerhouse club UMMC Ekaterinburg.

They captured the 2020-21 FIBA EuroLeague Women championship earlier this month, going 10-0 in the season with the 6-foot-5 Stewart being named Final Four MVP.

Days after, Stewart capped her scintillating run by securing the Russian domestic league title for the same club, named Finals MVP afterwards.

Ekaterinburg went a mind-boggling 25-0 throughout the league--with Stewart at the helm to win their 15th domestic league trophy.

All in all, the former UConn Husky has gone 59-4 in less than a year, while winning three titles and Finals MVPs for three different leagues.

Stewart's exceptional case shows that in the sporting world, athletes can make a return and successfully conquer an Achilles tear.

At only 26 years old, the former four-time collegiate champion has a realistic chance of adding more distinction to her name and in the future, as well as retiring as one of the greatest women's basketball athletes ever.

Breanna Stewart Seattle Storm WNBA
Breanna Stewart led the Seattle Storm to the 2020 WNBA championship. She was also named Finals MVP. Seattle Storm Twitter