Patience, Patients: Erika Cheever Readies for Hoop Return, Career in Health Field

While former Revere High basketball star Erika Cheever has maintained her academic excellence with a 4.0 grade point average in the Nursing program at Salem State University, the last stretch of her on-court career has been extremely challenging on a personal level.

Cheever, 20, who was a four-year varsity athlete at RHS, is sitting out her sophomore season at Salem State following surgery on her right knee that she had injured as a passenger in a motor vehicle accident.

Cheever’s freshman basketball season at Salem State was wiped out entirely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Going back to her senior year at Revere High School where she was on pace to become a 1,000-point scorer, Cheever missed several games due to a pulmonary embolism. The 5-foot-5-inch guard and team captain had averaged 25 points per game as a junior under the direction of head coach Matt Willis.

The good news is that Cheever is beginning a physical therapy regimen for her this month and hopes to return to the Salem State women’s basketball program for the 2022-23 season.

A Superb Outside Shooter and Guard for the Patriots

Known for her long-range shooting proficiency, Cheever made her varsity debut as a freshman for Coach Lianne O’Hara’s team that raced to an 18-0 record and claimed the No. 1 ranking in Massachusetts.

In fact, Cheever had kept Revere’s record perfect at 15-0 by hitting three clutch free throws in the final minute of a 55-53 victory over Lynn Classical. Valentina Pepic, Meaghan Gotham, Tatianna Iacoviello, Emily DiGiulio, and Pam Gonzalez were other standouts during that memorable season.

“That season was a great experience, it was crazy,” recalled Cheever.

As a sophomore, Cheever became a starting guard and averaged 10 points per game for a Revere tourney team. Her breakout season came as a junior when she led the league in scoring and three-point production and was named to the conference All-Star team.

She also excelled as an All-Star runner and captain for the cross country and outdoor track teams.

A pulmonary embolism, which is a blood clot that develops in a blood vessel in the body, sidelined Cheever for most of her senior basketball season.

“It’s a condition that requires follow-ups every couple of months,” said Cheever. “When I get sick, it’s always the first thing doctors have to check to make sure I don’t have any blood clots. When I had my knee surgery (Dec. 21), I had to take further precautions. It’s a little bit tedious, but it’s something that I always have to keep in mind whenever I get sick or have any surgeries.”

Sidelined for Basketball Season Again

In August, 2021, Cheever was a passenger in the back, center seat during a motor vehicle accident in Revere.

“It happened on Broadway right in front of the fire station,” related Cheever. “Someone went to take a left turn, but we were going straight, and the vehicles collided. The driver overcompensated and we hit another truck.”

Cheever said she banged her knee off the car’s console twice in the collision. “I felt my knee move. The lower half of my knee went one way, and the upper half went the other way. It dislocated my knee and there was other nerve damage. I had major fractures in my knee.”

Cheever underwent physical therapy and upon completion of that rehabilitative process, she had knee surgery on Dec. 21, 2021.

“In surgery, doctors fixed a dislocated meniscus and they had to take out a bundle of nerves, because I had nerve damage,” said Cheever.

She has begun physical therapy and will have to wear a knee brace after the stitches from surgery are removed.

“The goal is to be ready by next season,” said Cheever hopefully. “I hope to be back on the court for my junior year at Salem State.”

Cheever’s personal coaches have been former Revere High star athlete Jon DeMarco, who played football at Merrimack, and Tony Gallo, who excelled at Lynn Tech and Towson State and played professional basketball.

“Jon DeMarco and Tony Gallo are the main people who developed my basketball skills,” said Cheever. “They’re both great coaches.”

Pursuing a Career in Nursing

Cheever is studying in the Nursing program at Salem State and will begin her clinical nursing experience this semester.

“My goal is to become a nurse practitioner,” said Cheever.

She is draining three-pointers in the classroom with all A’s, dean’s list honors each semester, and membership in the Alpha Lambda Delta National Honor Society.

It’s a continuation of her academic excellence at Revere High School where she earned membership in the National Honor Society.

“I had some tremendous teachers at Revere High,” she said. “My favorite teacher was Mr. [Don] Pinkerton. I really enjoyed his class in biotechnology. And Ms. [Allison] Kasper was another amazing teacher. I got to help other students as a writing tutor. I love to write stories.”

Erika is currently working in a part-time job as a hostess at Jimmy’s Steer House. “We have great food,” she said. “My go-to dish is the steak and zucchini.”

Erika is the daughter of Revere Deputy Fire Cheever Paul Cheever and Jennifer Cheever. She has a sister, Trisha, who is pursuing a master’s degree at Salem State in urban planning. Trish competed in track and cross country on high school and at Worcester State University.

“My family has always been really supportive of all my endeavors,” said Cheever.

And you can expect the family to be at Salem State next winter when Erika Cheever, an athlete, and a scholar, makes her triumphant return to competitive basketball after a three-year absence.

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