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Caroline Ducharme to miss the remainder of 2023-24 season

The junior intends to continue playing in the future.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn women’s basketball’s Caroline Ducharme will miss the remainder of the 2023-24 season, the team announced on Tuesday. She has been out indefinitely since November due to head and neck injuries.

“I have been working tirelessly with my medical team to make a full return to basketball after sustaining head and neck injuries. It has honestly been a frustrating process with many ups and downs,” Ducharme said in a statement. “At this time, the difficult decision was made to take a step back and not play the remainder of the 2023-24 season so I can focus on my recovery full time.”

While Ducharme has played just 27 games over the last two seasons due to head and neck issues, the junior confirmed that she plans on continuing her basketball career in the future.

“I am guided by my faith, my family, my UConn coaches and teammates, and my medical team and am so grateful to have the support of everyone around me. I’m confident that this is the best decision so I can continue to play the sport I love at UConn and professionally,” she continued in the statement. “As hard as it is to be away from the court until the 2024-25 season, I’m always supporting my team and I can’t wait to rejoin them on the court next season.”

Assuming Ducharme receives a medical redshirt for this year — which seems likely since she’s played in just four games, all of which came in November — she’ll have two remaining seasons of eligibility left.

The problems started for Ducharme as a freshman. In January, she got hit in the head in successive games and eventually sat out five contests. Following the absence, Ducharme struggled to reach her previous level of play.

Ducharme missed the first game of her sophomore year with neck stiffness and admitted shortly afterwards that she wasn’t 100 percent healthy. She then suffered a concussion in practice in January and missed the 13 games as a result. During UConn’s European trip this past summer, Ducharme played in just two of four games because she got hit in the head during each contest.

Prior to the start of this season, she revealed how much all the injuries have impacted her.

“Doing everyday things, now I have to think about it more, take extra precautions around it,” she said at the time. “The usual things like being in bright lights, loud noises, schoolwork, looking at screens, watching TV. Little things that you don’t really even think about.”

The final straw that sidelined Ducharme during this current stretch came on the Huskies’ trip to the Cayman Islands. Their flight down dealt with turbulence that brought on neck spasms for Ducharme.

“Flying to a game and we’re bouncing around, then you get off the plane and everything hurts, everything’s bad. I feel terrible for the kid,” Auriemma said at the time.

Ducharme is the fifth UConn player that’s now out for the season, joining Jana El Alfy (achilles), Ayanna Patterson (knee surgery), Azzi Fudd (torn ACL) and Aubrey Griffin (torn ACL). The Huskies currently have nine available players remaining.