17 Year Old Female Soccer Player ACL Surgery

by Steph
(Atlanta, GA)

On the morning of April 2, 2008, my high school soccer team had morning soccer practice after the game the night before. It was our typical practice. We warmed up, stretched, and then we went into some scrimmaging.


I went up for a header, and came down funny. I fell to the ground with instant pain in my knee. I was crying in a lot of pain. The pain stopped after a minute, and I got up and walked off the field. I sat out for the rest of practice, and noticed that something was wrong when I felt my knee buckle on me.

I immediately told my coach who called the team doctor to set up an appointment. My mom picked me up from school and took me there. They couldn't really tell me anything since only an MRI would show tissue damage. The next day I had an MRI, and it also happened to be senior night for my team. The team doctor had a chance to look at my results before the game, and he informed me at halftime that I had torn my ACL. I never wanted to hear those three letters in a row. It was heartbreaking. Just thinking that I would be out for 6 or more months from the sport I love was unbelievable.

I had surgery on April 25 2008 using my own patella tendon. My coach was an amazing support system for me. She had torn both her ACL's throughout high school. Before my surgery she gave me a book called "Mind Gym." She told me to read it during my recovery. She came over after my surgery and hung out with me and told me that I will be back.

I kept that mentality throughout my recovery. I wanted to get back on to the field again and have that amazing feeling when I scored a goal. I spent my entire summer rehabbing, and it was totally worth it. Every follow up appointment from the doctor was progressive. When the doctor told me that I could start running, I was ecstatic. Something so basic that I had taken for granted beforehand, I was now able to do. I was at the three month mark, halfway done.

I continued my recovery and was cleared to start kicking the ball around 4 months. At 5 months I was cleared to start practicing with my team without contact. Finally at 6 months in October 2008 I was released to play soccer full contact. It was honestly one of the best days of my life. All the hard work that I had done over the past 6 months was all worth it.My scar on my knee makes me proud of everything I had faced in the past 6 months.

For those who have had or are going to have ACL surgery, STAY POSITIVE. I can't stress that enough. Your attitude is so important throughout this obstacle. It will get better, TRUST ME. The most important thing is to do the exercises at physical therapy, and work hard.

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Sep 03, 2012
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ACL surgery
by: Anonymous

I have just had my ACL reconstructed with my own patella tendon as well this past Tuesday. It is very hard but I am very positive about it and am just taking it one day at a time. My exercises are extremely difficult but I push myself until I can't push anymore. It was great reading this article and I'm the same way, I CANT WAIT until I get back on the field

Dec 04, 2010
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Re: Getting surgery soon!!
by: Jael


Hey Rachel,
Sorry about your injury!
I tore my acl playing soccer this year, on the second game as well. so I know how hard it is to watch your team excel and you just sit there! It really was heart breaking! But just keep your head up and push through all of it and eventually you will come through!

Keep your head up and don’t get down on yourself because it will all come together in the end if you put your mind to it. People will give you a lot of sympathy and tell you that you are going to be out for so long. Just brush it aside and don’t let other people get you down. Use your support system and know that you control your own destiny.

After all, the anterior cruciate is just a ligament. The heart is a muscle.
Good Luck!:)

Apr 28, 2010
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lea
by: Anonymous

I just tore my acl from skiing. Im 21 and my boyfriend and I just broke up 3 weeks prior after a 2 year relationship, so it has been really dificult to stay positive. The only thing keeping me going is getting excited for sugery and seeing how amazingly my body was made, and how thankful I am there is surgery to fix things like this. Just thought I should share.


Mar 19, 2010
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Getting surgery soon!!
by: Rachel rowland

Thank you so much!! This is amazing to read... I love soccer to death... I feel so much joy when I step onto that field and score a goal.... Especially when Im not very good at any other sports. I am a junior in high school, and on march 5th of this year, I tore my acl in the second game of our season. It was heartbreaking to know that I had to sit on the bench the rest of the season, and watch everyone else play. I can't wait to get back on the field after surgery, and play the sport I love for my last year of high school. If you could, I would love if you could email me... Just for some guidance through all this? Thanks so much!! Raerae111994@yahoo.com

Mar 06, 2010
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WOW
by: Anonymous

I just read your story, and it was encouraging to me, but the comment i saw about you tearing your other ACL, and going to play college soccer was really encouraging to me!! I am a sophomore varsity girl's basketball player, and last February i tore my Left ACL, and had it reconstructed. I had the same experience of how the little things got you excited, the things that i had always took for granted. Well, i got back to playing and it was the best! I never loved basketball more! Basketball for me is like soccer for you. I love it with a passion, and want to play college ball. Well, after successfully getting back to playing with my functional brace this year, on January 26 of this year, i felt a pop in my other knee. My initial thought was NO, not again. Well, i went to PT, and they told me that my knee was fine, so i went right back to playing. I played the last month of basketball not knowing that i had torn my ACL, and it kept giving out on me. Well, after the season was done, they had me get an MRI just to be sure, and i found out that i tore my other ACL! I couldn't believe it. But, i agree positive attitude is the best. So, are you playing college soccer? did you have to wear a brace on either of your knees? Thanks for the story! Going through these 2 injuries makes me love the game so much more, no one can understand how awesome it is to play unless they go through it.

Mar 06, 2010
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WOW
by: Anonymous

I just read your story, and it was encouraging to me, but the comment i saw about you tearing your other ACL, and going to play college soccer was really encouraging to me!! I am a sophomore varsity girl's basketball player, and last February i tore my Left ACL, and had it reconstructed. I had the same experience of how the little things got you excited, the things that i had always took for granted. Well, i got back to playing and it was the best! I never loved basketball more! Basketball for me is like soccer for you. I love it with a passion, and want to play college ball. Well, after successfully getting back to playing with my functional brace this year, on January 26 of this year, i felt a pop in my other knee. My initial thought was NO, not again. Well, i went to PT, and they told me that my knee was fine, so i went right back to playing. I played the last month of basketball not knowing that i had torn my ACL, and it kept giving out on me. Well, after the season was done, they had me get an MRI just to be sure, and i found out that i tore my other ACL! I couldn't believe it. But, i agree positive attitude is the best. So, are you playing college soccer? did you have to wear a brace on either of your knees? Thanks for the story! Going through these 2 injuries makes me love the game so much more, no one can understand how awesome it is to play unless they go through it.

Feb 04, 2010
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Reply to 17 yr old who just had surgery
by: Steph

Tearing both my acls made me realize how precious each minute you spend on the field is. Its a privaledge and honor to play the beautiful game.I am so excited to say that I am livin my dream of playing college soccer after overcoming both knees. The first couple weeks are the hardest, but with the right attitude, you will look back at it and be like wow did I really have surgery? Best of luck with your recovery!

Feb 03, 2010
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acl
by: Anonymous

Great story! Makes me feel a little better, I am two weeks post-op, 17 years old as well! Swollen knee and my shin is bruised all the way down to my foot, I can barely even touch my toes now! Your story makes me think that time will eventually heal :)

May 19, 2009
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It will be ok
by: Steph

It's no problem at all. Its honestly the most important thing that you can do is be positive. My friends make fun of me being crippled and whatnot but the humor helps with the coping, but I know it can get old after a while.I haven't been able to add another story yet. But this past march I tore my other acl, the non surgical one.I was upset cuz I was about to mark a year after tearing the first one. I sat the majority of my senior season and my team went to state playoffs for the first time in school history. I had surgery April 1 and I'm about 7 weeks out. I am hoping to be cleared to play college ball in September.

May 18, 2009
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Thanks
by: Mollie

Wow i was having one of those tough days when your ACL never seems like its goning to be better and your never going to be as good when i read your story. I was thinking about how i will be able to play bball again and it really motivated me to work hard and get back to playing. You are lucky to have such encouraging people, unfortunately many of my friends poke fun at my knee and i laugh with them but really it kills me to be like this. I know they are only playing harmless jokes but after a while they take their toll. Thanks for writing this story though. It really gave me hope for my future!

Nov 28, 2008
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Encouraging
by: Coach

It is good to hear of your fast recovery. To you though it probably did not seem fast. I am a High School Soccer coach and my daughter plays on the team. This past summer she tore her ACL in a club game. She also damaged her LCL and MCL. She is just about four months out from surgery and is going to be completely cleared. Her hard work on rehab has paid off. It did take alot of encouragement to do it. But she loves the game like you and wants to be back for club soccer this summer and her last two years at high school.Your story will be encouraging to her.

Nov 21, 2008
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thanks for this
by: Anonymous

For those of us waiting for our surgery- this helps alot!

Nov 19, 2008
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Thanks!
by: Anonymous

Thanks for responding! The first few weeks were the hardest. I wasn't even able to lift my leg up. It so weird that I look back on it now and I'm blown away with how fast time flew by. It seemed like forver. Staying positive is the most important thing because it determines how hard you are going to work to get back to normal activities.

Nov 19, 2008
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congratulations!
by: Bart - SII

Great story - hard work, dedication, and a positive attitude paid off - now you are back to doing the things you love.

Motivation and good advice for anyone facing an upcoming ACL reconstruction.

Bart

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