A Success Story (so far so good)

by Caleb Epley

You hear the countless horror stories of athletes tearing their ACL's and having to miss entire seasons. We all know that person with the bad knee that seems to be constantly in the OR. An ACL injury is the equivalent of a death sentence to a competitive athlete. Or so I thought.


It was during a basketball practice last November that I gained entrance to the infamous club. We were doing a simple drill when a loose ball landed between my legs. A teammate made the dive for it and.. POP. My knee hyperextends at the collision. I crawl off of the court in pain and fear the worst. Practice proceeds, I ice my knee and prepare to tell my mother we will be visiting the doctor soon.

Fast forward a week later and my MRI results are in. By now the swelling in my knee had gone down and I was fairly optimistic. I was walking fine and was thinking at worst I had a torn meniscus. The doctor quickly proved me wrong.

At this point I'll make it known that I am an exceptional sprinter in track and field. I broke several middle school records by almost a second and was running times that would have won most high school meets. My high school career has been plagued with injuries during the spring. A knee issue my freshman year and a broken ankle my sophomore year kept me from running to my full potential.

Alas, I was faced with the decision to have my torn ACL and meniscus repaired and suffer another missed track season.. Or do the unthinkable. Postpone the surgery until the summer and run on the injured leg.

Everyone thought I was crazy, but I chose to wait. I couldn't play any basketball, and a lot of workouts were tough to do, but the decision ended up paying off for me. I finished 22nd in my state in both the 100 and the 200 on a torn ACL. I suffered some soreness after meets, but overall my knee held up well during the season.

My surgery was scheduled July 13. I was a little nervous heading in, but so far the injury hadn't lived up to the horror stories that I'd always heard. My doctor specializes in hamstring grafts but I chose the patella due to its reputation for strength.

The procedure went well and I was wheeled out of the hospital high on pain meds. Man, that first night is tough. I stayed up with my medicine and rehab though and by day 7 I could walk without a limp.

I am five weeks post op now and I have full ROM. I never wear a brace and aside from the tightness in my patella my knee feels normal. I can swim, squat, lunge, do quad stretches, and ride the bike with high resistance. I even can do some light jogging. (don't tell my doctor)

I feel great about how my recovery is coming along and feel confident I can return to state in track this year. My advice to everyone would be to work hard on getting your motion back, and get your knee back to normal strength before surgery.

So far my ankle injury was worse than this has been. Don't believe the horror stories you hear. If you work hard an don't slack off on your rehab, an acl tear is just a minor setback. Looking forward to finishing recovery!

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Feb 18, 2015
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Reply NEW
by: Ben

Ligament injuries are main the problems that have been facing by the athletes. I think it is a part of their sports life. If they get injured, they have to take proper treatments and also must have enough rest. So be careful guys! fashion for play

Feb 08, 2013
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still trying to jump NEW
by: Anonymous

Thanks for posting your story! I am a division 1 high jumper in college and tore my ACL right before season for the 2nd time. Since I am a senior, I am still trying to compete with a brace. I think it's doable but no doubt really difficult. I hope I can do well enough to finish my season and compete and postphone surgery until summer

Mar 15, 2012
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whats up? NEW
by: Jael

Hey, I was just wondering how you are making out with your surgery. PLaying sports yet?
I am the one below that played soccer with a brace. I got it and it was really strange to play with:) But it went ok! It only gave out on me one time during practice. THat kinda hurt but other than that I had no issues! I started games when I came back. It was hard though because I got my brace a few weeks into the season so every one was ahead as far as fitness. but in the end we made it to the playoffs. So then I had surgery to repair it jan. 18th, but they found that my meniscus was torn way more than they thought but they were able to repair it instead of cutting it out. so I was on cruches for 6 weeks non weight bearing:) but now i am walking and doing well!

Mar 15, 2012
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strip NEW
by: Anonymous

Hey,

That is pretty interesting I tore mine in january of 2102 during practice and in a couple days I was back playin again and had the month of my life avg almost 18 pts in jan then exactly a month later I tore the rest and my miniscus I had surgery march 1st but I'm still on crutches because I had my acl repaired and had my left side latteral miniscus taken out I am a star pupil in therapy and am gettin better everyday I cant wait to get back to playin again this summer! Even though I will miss camps I can still go to gyms in my area in July and play again before our season syarts in november

Sep 13, 2011
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Two months post op
by: Caleb

It's the two month mark tomorrow, and things are looking great. I ran my first 400 3 days ago in 1:15! My muscle is still quite a bit smaller, and its gonna require a lot more strength training. But I'm lookin forward to the future.

Sep 13, 2011
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Good Luck
by: Anonymous

My ACL injury sounds pretty much exactly like yours!! a week after i first injured my knee, the swelling went down and it felt normal. i could walk and run and kick a footy as normal. but there were a few times when i twisted a bit too fast and i would here a crack and it would be saw for a night but that was it... and i done no further deamage. i was off crutches two days after the reconstruction (patella graft) and i was walking around like normal in 5 days. its been nearly 6 months now since the surgery and everything is going great. i got the all clear from my phsysio and surgeon too run and (after not running for so long) it felt sooo good!! good luck with the rest of your rehab!!! :)

Sep 06, 2011
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Caleb
by: Jael

Ouch! oh, well.
Do you think that it was worth it?
I just got my brace.... WOW... it will be interesting to play with!
I have just started to do squats and lunges.

Thanks for all your input!!

Sep 06, 2011
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Jael
by: Caleb

Yes, mine gave out twice actually. The knee hyperextends and the sensation felt similar to when I had torn it. It recovers quickly though, in my opinion because there really isn't much more damage you can do. I definitely feel like I could've finished my basketball season on it, I just wanted to be as healthy as possible for track. I'm sure your dr has told you but strong quads and hamstrings really help protect your hurt leg. I would suggest a lot of squats. Other than that you should do fine, best of luck this season!

Sep 06, 2011
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George
by: Jael

Hey,
Thanks! I did not know that! Its good to now that I am not the only one:P That is pretty amazing though!!

Really, surgery was not as bad as I thought! I mean its not something I like to do, but It was not horrible.
I would just recommend keeping up on your pain medicine! Even if it dose not really hurt, It takes time for the medicine to work, so keep up on it so it dose not begin to hurt.

Good luck!

Sep 06, 2011
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To Caleb
by: Jael

Hey Thanks!!
Yeah my Dr said it will eventually give out but I am willing to deal with it!
Did yours ever give out on you during any of your sports?
I am getting my brace today and hope to practice by Thursday!! I am a bit nervous, but I am ready! My team has a lot of new defenders and there aren't a lot of upperclassmen ones so my coach is really ready for me to start, I am just worried that I won't be as good. Did the brace slow you down at all??

How is your recovery going??

Sep 06, 2011
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hey Jale
by: George

I dont want to be encouraging it but there is an NBA Player whos name is Dejaun Blair, who plays with no acls in both knees, but still be careful, im due for surgery next week and am very nervous.

Aug 20, 2011
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Hey
by: Caleb

It's definitely possible. My doctor told me not to do any sports with cutting but I did play some pick-up basketball on it before the surgery. People cant really comprehend playing with it because of the severity that's normally attached to the injury. There is a risk of the knee giving out on you due to the instability. But if that happens it's not the end of the world. It will feel better in about a week. Good luck!

Aug 20, 2011
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Me too!
by: Jael

Hey,
I tore my ACL last September and had the pattela graft reconstruction. All is well with that one and now I have found out that I have torn the other one. I decided that I am just not ready for another surgery so I am going to play soccer with my torn ACL and a brace! It neat to hear a story of someone continuing to do athletics with a torn ACL!:P I am planning on having surgery after the season some time in January!

Hope your doing well!

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