Life Through a Different Lens Kylee Kellermann

I don't remember a time before I knew about, played, or loved basketball. So when that shove sent me to the floor on December 13, 2021, there was the sudden, lucid fear that this could be a season-ending injury. Basketball meant everything to me - it was the very thing I’d built myself for - and I felt shattered. Surgery repaired my ACL, but not that feeling. And the long road of rehab meant months to fill outside the gym. Not knowing what to do with myself began resolving organically as I found people from all my “circles” stealing away hours with me.

Hanging out with my parents more, I began to feel a conspicuous connection. I was having meaningful conversations with my brothers. I made an effort to actively nurture my friendships. I even leaped at opportunities to do the things I’d always said I’d love to do “if I had the time,” like getting involved in school fundraisers and events. It turns out I wasn't broken - I just wasn't finished.

My story is not simply a story of resilience, of sustaining a sports injury and clawing my way back to the top. The forced pause permitted me time and energy to dig deeper into my meticulously-designed life. What I’d built to that point was important (and, thankfully, reparable). But equally, or perhaps even more important was filling the soul of my structure. Time with my parents. Talking to my grandparents. Travels and experiences, from the fellowship of church camp to unencumbered days at sea. And the space to consider not just what I want to be, but who I want to be.

My injury allowed me to add soul to my structure. Strength isn’t guaranteed by the outer structure… but it is galvanized from the soul within. I’m so grateful that I can’t unknow this. Because I didn’t pity or blame myself for leaving something unbreakable when the same injury took my senior year away not even a year later. Instead, I looked around at what I couldn't see - couldn't strengthen - until I was able to know it was missing

Athlete Profile:

My life outside of sports:


Through athletic injury, one may feel lost and broken. But an unexpected beauty exists behind each individual story. My pieces disclose the art in sports - growth, perseverance, and countless hours to build a craft. Injuries are unwanted and ill-timed, but they also allow athletes space to consider not just what they want to be, but who they want to be. Art was my way of both broadening and deepening my identity while I healed from injury. I love sports, but I really love art for all the ways it's NOT sports. I push myself athletically; I express myself artistically. Sports demand practice; art encourages my moods and inspirations.


I was raised in a family deeply committed to regular church attendance, and while I always considered myself a believer, it wasn't until my junior year that I truly established a meaningful relationship with the Lord. This transformative experience was catalyzed by the adversity of tearing my ACL for the first time, a setback that initially left me feeling defeated and questioning my identity. Ironically, this setback provided an unexpected opportunity to attend my school's summer Younglife camp, an event I had previously been unable to participate in due to basketball commitments. It was there that the message of John 3:30, "He must become greater, and I must become less," resonated deeply with me. Until that point, I had done everything in my power to control every aspect of my life. The frustration and anger I felt following my injury stemmed from the belief that I had done everything right. However, this experience served as a turning point, leading me to recognize that the Lord gives His most challenging battles to His strongest soldiers. After facing the adversity of tearing my ACL for the second time within a year, I chose to turn to God rather than pity myself. Since then, I have actively participated in Clemson FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) and embarked on a discipleship program, with the aim of guiding others through my own testimony. Additionally, I have proudly taken on the role of ambassador for Holstrength, aligning myself with their brand and mission to share the gospel with others, as illustrated in the accompanying photos.

HOLSTRENGTH Ambassador Photos: "Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much greater, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come." - 1 Timothy 4:8

THE 5 P's: My grandfather, with an impressive 8-year tenure in the NFL, gave many valuable life lessons to me. His consistent inquiry about recalling the "5 P's" became a lasting influence. Initially, I perceived it as impersonal, but over time, its significance became deeply ingrained. Today, I proudly share that the 5 P's represent Proper Planning Prevents Poor Production. Through his anecdotes, my grandfather emphasized the importance of proactive preparation in various aspects of life, such as diligent studying for exams, practicing challenging skills, and investing extra time in training sessions. These choices, he stressed, shape one's readiness for significant moments, highlighting the personal responsibility of being well-prepared.

E.A.S.T: From a young age, my father served as both my mentor and coach, consistently urging me to strive for excellence and embrace challenges. While the additional time and effort usually translated into success, setbacks led to self-criticism. To address this, my father introduced the acronym E.A.S.T for me and his coached teams, representing Effort, Attitude, Sportsmanship, and Teamwork. Beyond mere athletic attributes, these qualities are within our control. Even in challenging times, maintaining 110% effort and exemplifying good teamwork remains possible, offering a sense of control and resilience.

HARD WORK BEATS TALENT WHEN TALENT DOESN'T WORK HARD: My mother, a former collegiate field hockey player at the University of Connecticut, imparted a valuable saying to me from a very young age. She consistently emphasized the notion that possessing abundant talent alone is insufficient; one must dedicate themselves to its refinement and always strive to do more. From an early age, she instilled in me the understanding that, despite possessing innate abilities, one must relentlessly commit to personal growth. This enduring wisdom has been encapsulated on my wall, serving as a constant reminder to harness my God-given talents and work hard every day to achieve my goals.


Fashion has consistently been a source of personal enjoyment for me, serving as a platform for expressing my identity. Within this realm, I find it to be a powerful medium through which I articulate my personality, values, and individuality. My love for vibrant colors, symbolizing happiness and joy, is thoughtfully incorporated into my wardrobe. The act of dressing up transcends aesthetics for me; it is a practice that instills a sense of confidence and self-assurance. By meticulously creating my attire, I not only feel good about myself but also present a fashionable and professional image to the world. In this way, fashion becomes an empowering tool, allowing me to convey an authentic representation of who I am, influencing not only external perceptions but also shaping my personal journey.


Over the years, I've volunteered with organizations focused on underserved communities throughout the southeast, such as One80 Place Homeless Shelter and Lowcountry Food Bank, and it has become clear to me how little shelter is available to those in need. Charleston is known for its hospitality, but the reality is that it’s much more hospitable to visitors - offering high-end hotels and Airbnbs - than to its residents. I've long considered myself a leader, a trait nurtured as the six-year captain of my basketball team. I’m certain I could use my voice and collaborative spirit in advocacy to effectively galvanize aid from the private and public sectors to better address the problem of homelessness. And of course, the exceptional education I would gain through Clemson, combined with real estate experience with my father, would offer me the credentials and credibility to work with municipalities and weave into my future a priority on building homes as much for those under financial strain as for those well-equipped to afford them. This is the pathway to giving all families the liberty to take shelter “for granted” and focus on family, work, and school.