Em's ACL Story

by Emily Lunt
(California)

Hello Everyone,

I tore my ACL in late June and recently came across this website and thought that it might help me out to share my story.

I am a 16 year old high school girl and volleyball has been a large part of my life for the past 6 years. For me, volleyball has been more than just a sport. When I was 14, my dad was diagnosed with cancer which was very hard for me to handle. Volleyball was a way for me to deal of the stress of constantly living with the fear of him dying any given day. It kept me distracted and was something that I loved doing.The volleyball program at my high school is very competitive and when i made JV as the only freshman, I could not have been happier. Sophomore year, I was the starting libero and a captain for the team. This time, I was surrounded by all the girls from my grade whom all were my best friends and had an amazing season before being moved up to varsity for CIF. Once school ended, club season began and I made it through just about the entire season as a DS/Outside hitter without any injuries. But it was just my luck when the misfortune struck. Last tournament, last match, last game, last point of the season. Our team was up in the third game 14-10 and I hit a ball down the line only to land on my left leg a bit off balance. That's when it happened. My left knee buckled sideways and I was on the ground and had no intentions of getting up. It was extremely painful for a second, but lying on the ground, the pain was not too horrible. I knew something went wrong and I was crying and shaking out of shock. My coach and medics then quickly surrounded me to evaluate my knee's condition. I was helped up and relocated to the bench where the medics tested for broken bones or any dislocation before bringing me upstairs to the trainer. The thought of a torn ACL hadn't even crossed my mind at the time. I had known zero other volleyball players who had suffered an ACL injury, only soccer players. After their evaluation, they had thought I had torn my LCL which I didn't seen as such a big deal because it is a much shorter recovery. Of course this tournament was not very close to home, so I left the tournament the next day on the first flight back home.

I saw a doctor the next day who confirmed that it was in fact not an LCL, but an ACL tear. After explaining how I would be missing the next school season and likely club as well, I returned home in tears. I knew that the process was going to be long and difficult, but I didnt know what I was going to do. The following couple of weeks before surgery werent too horrible as I could still walk and friends were there to keep my mind off of the whole scenario. The surgery was not as successful as had been anticipated. Softer bones called for a weaker graft and now, a longer recovery. But now, I am exactly one week out of surgery. Pain is not very bad, but my mental health is doing very poorly.

I don't know what to do without volleyball. I am being distanced from friends who all play. Ive missed out on the annual varsity lake trip for team bonding. And I feel like such a wreck. I cant imagine not playing for an entire 6 months or more. I feel so sad all the time now and I need advice on how to cope with everything. I am still part of the varsity team technically. Ill be doing stats for this season, but I just don't have any idea how anyone can go so long without being able to do something that means so much to them. I cry all the time and writing everything down seems to help but I literally feel like everything I have worked so hard for is gone.I fear my chances as a captain on Varsity senior year are gone as well as my position as a libero because I'm missing out on all of this time as everyone else excels, I'm left behind. I already feel like my life as a volleyball player is over. I just need to know how to get through this. I have been told to try an avoid volleyball and focus on other things, but I can't do that when this is my true passion. These success stories have left me knowing that I'll eventually heal, but getting back into the game is going to be harder than I feel I can ever imagine. For those of you who have healed, how did you get through it? What did you do with yourself?

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Aug 31, 2015
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Avery NEW
by: Anonymous

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Aug 07, 2015
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Education NEW
by: Anonymous

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Feb 19, 2015
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by: Dayne

So sad to hear the story of Emily. Don’t worry Emily your situations will be changed. You have to wait for few months to recover completely from the injury. For that you have to take proper rests. Never lose your confidence. Best of luck!
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Jan 21, 2015
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Same NEW
by: Audrey

My name is Audrey and I tore my ACL playing soccer! I haven't had surgery yet but am soon! When I read your story I felt as if I had written it! I have played soccer my whole life and finally I was able to play for my school and a week into the first practices I tore mine! Our first game was last night and I sat on the bench keeping stats feeling as though soccer was being taken away from me. Everything you said I have thought a million times. I still have next year but I feel as though my world is gone and I don't know how to move on.

Jan 21, 2015
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Same NEW
by: Audrey

My name is Audrey and I tore my ACL playing soccer! I haven't had surgery yet but am soon! When I read your story I felt as if I had written it! I have played soccer my whole life and finally I was able to play for my school and a week into the first practices I tore mine! Our first game was last night and I sat on the bench keeping stats feeling as though soccer was being taken away from me. Everything you said I have thought a million times. I still have next year but I feel as though my world is gone and I don't know how to move on.

Dec 06, 2012
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Here we go again NEW
by: Anonymous

I totally forgot I had posted my story on this website. Thank you all so much for the thoughtful and supporting words of advice.
After pushing through a successful 8 month recovery, I was able to go back out on the court just in time for my senior season!
Unfortunately, during a pre-season tournament, I re-tore my ACL. My world crumbled in my mind. All of my hard work went to waste in some freak situation that had nothing to do with the tireless effort I had put into my physical therapy. But here we go again. I played through the rest of my season WITH a torn ACL because I love nothing more than playing. I am looking forward to my next recovery and will continue to seek advice from this thread!
Surgery in 7 days, round two, come at me!

Dec 11, 2011
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NEW
by: Austyn

Sorry I forgot to say this in my previous comment, I tore mine in early July so it looks like we pretty much have the same timeline! I think it would be great to talk to someone who is going through the exact same thing as I an, so email me if you want too! Austynames@yahoo.com. Hope to talk to you soon!

Dec 11, 2011
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I know exactly what you are going through! NEW
by: Austyn

Hi! I just wanted to say, I am just as passionate about volleyball as you are. It is literally my whole life, and I can not imagine my world without it. Less than one week after junior nationals in Atlanta, I went up to set a tight pass and that's when it all went wrong. The trainer told me I injured my MCL, and I was also very happy because that would only be a 6 week recovery time. An ACL tear never crossed my mind until someone asked me about it. I honestly thought it could never happen to me. I flew home, and the doctor told me otherwise. I just sat there with my dad, and cried. I felt like I couldn't breathe, and my whole world fell apart. As a freshman, I made varsity but played mostly on jv. If I would have stayed healthy, I would have been the starting setter my sophomore year. I also took stats the whole season and I felt like I was missing out on so much! Volleyball was my way of expressing myself and I couldn't do that anymore. I feel your pain! If you want to talk, feel free to email me! I was so excited to read your story and realize that there is someone out there who knows exactly what I am going through!!

Sep 10, 2011
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You can do it
by: Keri

Wow. Its wierd when you read somehing and the exact thing happened to you. My name is keri and i am 17 years old. I am sorry you tore your acl i know how you feel. I tore my acl playing lacrosse and got surgery 2 weeks ago. It is the hardest thing ever. You cant really understand the diffitculty of tearing your acl until it personally happens to you. Anyway i also play basketball and am missing my senior season :( i have started varsity since sophmore year. I know its going to be hard but i am determined to stay on my team . My two best friends play also and its going to kill me not to be on the court with them. I know its hard but you have to work hard at pt and think positive. You have to come back stronger and better than ever before. Its okay to cry i do all the time but dont let it eat you alive you need to accept it. Stay on your teamand be part of it in anyway even if its hard bc you will regret if you dont. Best of luck.

Aug 21, 2011
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Advice for Em
by: Anonymous

Hi Emily!
My twin sister and I each tore an ACL (in opposite knees) about 1 year ago during volleyball tryouts. We had surgery and both made a full recovery within 7 and 1/2 months of physical therapy. I kept a journal during the whole recovery process. I know what your going through and yes, it really sucks. I would go to my teams games on crutches and while I would be watching them, I would become very emotional and start crying because I didn't understand, with all of the time and hard work that I had put into the sport, why I was the one sitting on the bench. Let me tell you one thing, YOU CAN"T GIVE UP!!! No matter how tough things get, remember that you can still make it back to playing volleyball. It will take a while and will require a good amount of dedication, hard work and effort, but I know that you will succeed. Try not to focus on the past but focus on what you want to accomplish now. I will pray that you will make a full recovery also, just like my twin and I did! If you have any questions or want to know more about my experience, don't hesitate to ask! I wish you the best of luck!

Aug 19, 2011
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I hear you!
by: Jael

HEY!
I tore my left ACL last year during a varsity pre-season soccer tournament. It was not even a season game yet and I was DEVASTATED! I had to miss the rest of the season! It was really hard for me to except that I was done! I did stick around with the team and kept stats, and let me tell you... you should too! Even if you can't be playing you will still be WITH the team! I have so many memories from the games and practices and it would have been so sad if I would have missed that!
And YES! mentally it is hard, but just don't dwell on the fact that you can't play, focus on your therapy and the fact that you can play again!
I thought that it would seem like FOREVER till I was done, BUT When I eventually was... I was like "really, I am done already?!"

Hope you are doing well!

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