09/09/2014 09:51 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Ex-College Athlete And Marathon Bombing Survivor Returns To Court, Reminds Us To Never Quit

This strong-willed tennis player was severely injured in the Boston Marathon bombings. More than a year after the attacks, she's back to show the world that nothing can stand in the way of her passion.

Kaitlynn Cates, former champion tennis player for Suffolk University, was injured by the first blast at the marathon, according to WCVB TV. Cates said she had lost nearly 30 percent of her leg, CBS Boston reported. After enduring several surgeries, a calf replacement and rehabilitation, Cates returned to the court last week as an instructor, giving her first clinic at Willowbend Country Club in Mashpee, Massachusetts.

"My ultimate goal is to compete and teach, which feels wonderful," Cates told WCVB. "It was definitely a horrible thing. But beautiful things came out of it and that's what I try to focus on."

The clinic was held for high school tennis players from Mashpee High School, who say that Cates was not only a good teacher, but her determination motivated them to play harder.

I think it’s really inspiring, how nothing can stop you,” Jeff Demanche, another tennis player told CBS.

Cates, who is now back to playing tennis at a high intensity level, has come a long way since the bombings. Last year, she told USA Today that after being badly wounded from the first bomb, if it wasn't for her friend, Leo Fonseca, she may not have survived. Fonseca carried her to his car and drove her to the hospital, following the blast that took part of her leg.

"I don't think I'd be here if it wasn't for Leo," she told USA Today. "He saved my life. He's a true hero and a wonderful man. I am very lucky."

Now about a year and a half later, with many surgeries and treatments under her belt, Cates is still working toward her goals.

"My end goal was to always get back on the court teaching and playing competitively again. 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 told CBS.

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