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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