Brendan's ACL tear/surgery/recovery. Football and Track.

by Brendan
(Fort Madison, Iowa, United States)

I am a 17 year old Junior in high school and I've been training to be the absolute best I can be for football and track for the past few years. Track has been my forte and I've managed to qualify for the state meet in my sprinting events both my freshman and sophomore year. This preseason in football, August 16th to be exact, we were doing a hitting drill and instead of tackling me, a kid ripped on my jersey while my right leg was stuck because my cleats were dug into the ground. I twisted and fell on my knee and heard the notorious pop and started screaming. Something was definitely wrong. I went to the E.R. that night and they told me I had sprained my knee and that it would get better. I finally got an MRI and it showed that I had a torn ACL, medial meniscus, and gastrocnemius (calf) muscle. The first doctor I saw told me that I could continue to play football as long as i wore a brace, so i did. Continuing to play only made matters worse. Every few days it would give out and pop and I would be limping around all over again. There for awhile I thought it was better because my speed was almost all the way back. I decided to get a second opinion and I was told that playing football was stupid, and that surgery was imperative. I was told that getting my knee as strong as possible before surgery would aid me in recovery, so I did that.

October 20th, 2010 I underwent a 4-5 hour surgery in which the used a graft from my patellar tendon to fix my ACL, and they repaired my meniscus. They had all these timelines for my recovery and all I did was use those timelines to prove them wrong.
The doctor told me that the first year I might be 85 to 90 percent, speedwise, for track. I completely gave up my football dream and decided to dedicate all of my time to recovering in time for track. The recovery was supposed to be 6 months, track starts in 4 months. After the doctor told me all of these things he told me to prove him wrong, and that statistics are only numbers and that anything is possible. So I took that statement to heart. He also said the key to a faster recovery is setting goals, staying positive, and doing my therapy every day.
I wasn't supposed to be walking until 2 weeks postop, I was walking in a week and a half. I wasn't supposed to be able to bend past 90 degrees until 6 weeks, I was at 115 degrees at 6 weeks. My strength has been coming back excellently and is continuing to grow. I wasn't supposed to be running until 12 weeks, and I was running at 8 weeks. So I was pretty far ahead of schedule.
The only issues I've had so far are the gastro tear, shin splints in my right leg, and some sort of nerve pain in my right buttock and ankle joint.
I went back to the doctor on December 7th and he told me that not only could I recover, but I had a 98% chance of recovering as if I never had knee problems in the first place. He also said the 6 month recovery period had shortened to 4 or 5 months. My recovery had been remarkable.
Today is January 4th, 2011 and I go back to the doctor on January 20th. My shin splints are beginning to go away, my speed is improving, and the only major issues right now are the weakness in my right leg and the nerve pain in my right butt.
I will update this every visit I take to the doctor, thank you for reading and good luck to you if you have experienced anything like this.

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