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Journey Behind the ACL

“You tore your ACL...” Those are the dreaded words any athlete could hear.

I used to say, tearing an ACL was my biggest fear, I hoped it would never happen to me. I looked at the injury as one that was career ending, or affected athletes so great, that they would never come back the same. However, this was not the plan for me.

I tore my ACL in the Spring of 2019, following a weekend of USA and college training where I overworked myself and didn’t allow myself sufficient time to recover, something that is so important for elite athletes. From there, I was presented two choices; let my past thoughts on ACL rehab circulate my head, or focus on coming back stronger than ever. As competitive and driven as I am, I took this injury as a challenge to better myself.

I began rehab immediately, working on strengthening my muscles before surgery so I was strong going into it. Everyday after surgery, I was presented with a new challenge. The recovery was long, and way harder than I would’ve ever thought. You never truly understand the depths of the recovery process until you experience it yourself. It was hard to stay positive sometimes. You begin to lose sight of your present progress because you can become so fixated on how far you are from your end goal. Because of this, I made a checklist for myself of little milestones, so I wouldn’t lose sight of how far I’ve come. I broke it down into each month, then into each week and into each day. Big milestones included ditching the crutches, starting to walk, and progressing into running. The little milestones included adding weight in an exercise I’ve been doing, or going a day without swelling. It taught me to be appreciative of the little things in life and in what your body can achieve.

The road to returning back to play was not easy, nor was it a linear process. There were some days where I had setbacks, and others I felt great, and this is normal. I made a conscious effort not to compare my recovery process to others, as everyone’s body is different, and everyone’s journey unfolds in different ways. Instead, I looked to others for inspiration, to help push myself and stay focused on my goal. Seeing college athletes, olympians, pro players, etc, recovered from ACL and back playing, gave me so much hope.

For anyone presented with this challenge, know that you are not alone. Reach out to others, ask for help. You will learn so much about yourself, and be pushed out of your comfort zone. Know that you are put in this situation because you are strong enough to get through it. Don’t lose sight of your goal, but be proud of yourself and celebrate you little milestones. You got this!

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You're such an nspiration! Great advice here that can translate into lots of setbacks in life!

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