My 3rd ACL surgery, age 16

by Colette
(Madisonville, Louisiana, America )

Hello, my name is Colette. I thought I would write my story on here because I need some advice.

Soccer was/has always been a huge part of my life. I started playing soccer when I was about 7 years old and I have always loved it! That sport made me so happy, and it definitely kept me in shape as well! But, unfortunately, all of that was put on hold when I tore my ACL when I was only 12 years old. I collided with a girl on the opposing team and in that moment my ACL and both menisci were torn and my bone was bruised.

Another bad thing was that I was at a tournament in the middle of nowhere so there wasn't an ambulance or any immediate medical care for me after I injured myself. So, instead of being taken care of by doctors, I sat through the rest of the tournament with a bag of ice on my knee and tried to pretend it didn't happen. Anyways, that was in 2007 and my doctor said that I had to wait a while for surgery because my growth plates were not fused yet.

In March of 2009, March 4th to be exact, I finally got my ACL/Meniscus reconstruction surgery. The weeks and months following that day were not very pleasant and I sure didn't enjoy seeing everyone else walk normal while I was trying to catch up with my crutches.

After a week or two of being immobilized by crutches and what not, my doctor sent me to physical therapy. And that started my 9 month journey through physical therapy. It seemed like FOREVER! I went three times a week, too. But, one positive outcome was that I was getting stronger and I felt like I was strong enough for soccer again. My doctor cleared me to play sports with my brace on, and I felt like I was ready.

The first season of soccer was very hard and I was terrible compared to what I used to be, I knew I would never be the same. The season after that one, I was put on an advanced team which really boosted my confidence and helped me work through my injury. But, to my surprise, during the first game of that season I blew out my ACL again while I was jumping. And the surprising part is that I had my brace on. To this day, I still don't understand why that happened to me.

In December of 2010, I got my second knee surgery and it went really well. I only had to do physical therapy for about two months and I finally felt stable again. The recovery was not nearly as bad as the first surgery but I knew that my soccer career had ended. My doctor told me that it would not be a good idea to play again and my mom tears up every time she thinks about it. So my dream was thrown out of the window, and I tried to focus on other things that I was able to do.

My doctor said it would be fine for me to do track because it was strictly running in a straight line and I was able to do that without any problems, and I also didn't have to wear my brace. I decided to only practice with the track team instead of playing and I did really well. I continued that up until a couple months ago. While we were practicing different types of starts and doing warmup exercises, my knee gave out three separate times. So I'm pretty sure you know what that means....torn again!

I just went to the doctor and he recommended me get full reconstruction surgery AGAIN but use my patella instead because my hamstring graph didn't work well for me. I really need advice about this whole patella thing...I'm going to the doctor again soon to schedule my surgery and I really want to know what its like to get ACL surgery with the patella.

Thanks for reading, I know it was long!
God Bless, Colette

**Colette's original story, just before her first ACL Reconstruction**

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Apr 13, 2015
good post NEW
by: Natalie11

I think ACL surgery is very common in different kinds of sports man. I think in this story the 3rd ACL surgery at 16 is very serious and dangerous for him. I become sad to read this story but hope now you fit. any how, I want to search dissertation writing company which must be known as due to its quality work.

Mar 29, 2013
ACL Surgeries in both knees NEW
by: Noni - S.African Girl

Hi there.

I tore both ACL's on the same day (22nd Feb) - just a year apart.

Quick background: Played top level field hockey and did athletics at school for 10 years. Started football (soccer) in University. I tore my left knee acl while changing direction at soccer practice. (surgery on 12th March 2012). Incredibly painful! Next season, first game for First Team, I tore my right knee acl after a hard tackle. Not much pain - walked around after the tackle. (surgery on 20th March 2013).

Not keen for any sport right now - nor is it recommended. I'll be taking up cycling and track athletics though.

Both surgeries - hamstring graft was used.

My problem could be genetic. Hyper-extensive joints? My family is not sporty at all.

Anyone else experience this?

Currently being treated at the Sports Science Institute.

Thank you for your time.


Oct 09, 2012
TORN ACL Junior year NEW
by: Carissa

Around the beginning of Junior year i just started to work, and run aaa lot! I was in the best shape of my life ! & i was training with a club team. Then i started soccer condition, after that i would go to club practice. My mom was telling me to slow down, she though i was doing too many things. & The first day of try outs ,I asked for the day off. it was on Halloween. & I thought i did great ! & we did a little scrimmage, & towards the end I rolled the ball, but my leg rolled the with the BALL! -_- & my right knee popped ! i fell to the ground. I though i dislocated it cause I hurt it really bad. & I was carried off. & then i decide to got walk on it to the car.& i knew i couldnt. & i had to wait for surgery for 3 months for the swelling 7 it was booked. & I had a very bad bone bruise. Its a very long process,Im not guna lie this has been the most depressing year of my life ! & i started soccer condition about last week. & i started out too fast, no i got internal shin splints.! hopefully the will be gone soon!
I just want to play soccer !. Collete you have inspired me! thanks for your story ! Hopefully you become even more stronger!
God bless

Mar 22, 2012
Patellar Tendon NEW
by: Anonymous

My story is nothing like that at all, but I used the middle third of my Patellar tendon and so far it has worked pretty good but I am also only at my 7 month mark. I got cleared to play sports about a week or two ago and just started lacrosse (I also do soccer but my doctor said its too soon for that). I haven't had any trouble except that it will hurt at times still right at the top of my tibia. Other than that it has been fine.

Feb 09, 2012
I Can Relate
by: Michelle

Wow that's amazing that you've been through all that. I tore my left ACL when I was 13 and I am now 15 and found out today I that I tore my right ACL. I'm glad I came across your story just to see if someone else had torn their ACL twice by my age cause it just seems so unfortunate that this could happen more than once in such a short period of time. Good luck and thanks for sharing!

Feb 08, 2012
7 weeks post-op
by: Colette

Ebony- I'm sorry to hear about all that! Makes me think twice about my situation. You seem really smart and that you have a good head on your shoulders. Sadly, if I were you, I would rehabilitate my knee for as long as needed and then not continue with sports. It's unfortunate because you're good enough to receive a scholarship. But maybe the scholarship was a blessing because it sent you to a good school as well, where you can learn and achieve everything you've always wanted (education wise). At this point, you probably need to get your knee in a condition where it will be stable and secure for the rest of your life instead of risking it and playing again. But that's just my opinion! Keep me updated.

Jael- Wow that's really good! I'm happy you got everything fixed. I know it sucks to not put weight on it because I had to go through that for my first surgery. But, you're on the road to being back to normal! I promise everything will work out. And I'm doing pretty well. I'm 7 weeks post op and I'm finally out of my knee brace and doing more active things in physical therapy. I should be able to run in about 4 weeks which I'm looking forward to.

Feb 04, 2012
by: Me again

Hey, Sorry its been a while! Anyway I did end up having surgery on Jan. 18th. He used a cadaver and repaired my meniscus. So now I can’t put weight on it for another 3 weeks (6 from surgery). But I am doing well! How are you doing?

Feb 04, 2012
Recovering from 3rd ACL tear
by: Ebony

I am currently recovering from my 3rd ACL tear. The first tear came in November of my sophomore year in high school playing basketball. The physician who performed surgeries for the athletes highly recommended using a cadaver which after 6 months failed. I had a second surgery in June using my patellar tendon and was able to return to basketball in January of my junior year. I had a very successfull junior and senior year which allowed me to receive a full basketball scholarship. I tore it a 3rd time in December of my freshman year in college. The university physician used an achilles tendon allograft because my tunnels from previous surgeries were to big to use my hamstring. I am going to take a year to rehab and think about what I want to do next. Do I continue and play or do I utilize my scholarship and focus primarily on getting my degree. I keep my scholarship with either choice.

Jan 06, 2012
Keep on going!
by: Jael

I will keep you up to date!! :)
Wow, that is nice that is was so fast!! Yeah, that is the kind of pain I felt too!
Yes!! I hated the bending leg part!! I would just bury my face into a pillow and try to deal with it! I think because its patella tendon that runs in front, when you bend it hurts more:( Don’t worry it does get better! Lol, Wear your scare with pride:) it shows all you have gone through! At first I did not want a big scar but after about 2 days of doing therapy I was like “hey, at least I have something to show for it!” :)

Please keep me up to date!

Jan 06, 2012
15 days after my knee surgery
by: Colette

Well, I was lucky enough to get my surgery a couple days after my doctors appointment! Fortunately, I got it done during my break from school so I have had time to recuperate and become a little more mobile. The pain is a lot different than I expected it to be, it's very numb and throbbing rather than a deep piercing pain. I've been to two physical therapy sessions and the pain while I'm bending my leg or lifting my leg is excruciating...but I'm trying to get through this in the most positive way possible! On the bright side, I can start walking tomorrow and the pain is getting a lot better. I'm finally happy that I got this surgery done and I'm glad I don't have to do it ever again or later in my life! But not on the bright side, I have a brand new huge scar next to all my other ones.

"A Dad" - Thank you so much for sharing your story with me, it helped me a lot. I can't tell you how sorry I am about your daughter, it hurts me to know that someone can tear both of their knees and love a sport as much as I did. I hope that her other ACL is not torn. But if it is, I pray for the best and unfortunately it might not be the best idea for her to go back to basketball...I went right back to soccer and I retore mine right away. If you want, please keep me updated on how everything is going! I really appreciate your comment; it made me see the good in my situation rather than the bad and your are truly blessed for helping me out. My email is if you or your daughter ever want to talk about it or update me on the situation. Thank you so much and God bless!!

"Jael" - WOW, same situation, huh? Well thaks for sharing your story with me! Trust me, I know what it's like! I hope your appointment goes really well and I hope your other knee is okay!! Let me know how it goes!

"Kris" - Your comment about the pattelar graph really helped calm me before my surgery! Honestly, it really isn't that bad just like you said! I'm already almost off of crutches and almost all of my swelling is gone too. The only bad part is the physical therapy! But anyways, good luck with your knee and thank you!

Bart- For this surgery my doctor used my own patella from my bad knee...he said the cadaver is not the best idea for me because I'm double jointed and it could stretch easier. But everything is going really well and you're right...the rehab is a lot slower but I'm getting through it! Thank you so much!

Jan 05, 2012
I'm sorry
by: A Dad


I'm so sorry this is happening to you. My daughter 15, loves basketball - has since she could talk, and has played since 3rd grade. She tore her ACL in Dec. 2010. Had surgery in Jan., and has been playing with a brace. Last night they believe she tore her other ACL.

I'm sitting here with my heart aching for her and for you, thinking about taking her away from this sport she loves so dearly. I am praying for a miracle that she hasn't torn the ACL, but being practical, I doubt I will get my miracle.

Here's what I am trying to focus on, and going to be trying out on my daughter (and you now). You only have two eyes, two ears, and two legs, and a lifetime you need to use them. At 53, I have a bad knee (believed to be torn cartiledge), and it hurts most of the time. You have so much more that you can do, and that you will want to do for so much longer than a high school sport. Please think about that as you consider continuing to play sports that you could be reinjured playing.

I don't want you to have to use crutches or a wheelchair when you are older (53?). You have so much more to do in your life. One thought that comes to mind is chasing after your children, our grandchildren. We don't want that to be a burden for you.

God- Please bless Colette and my daughter, so that they don't reinjure themselves again, and that they find other activities for them to find joy in, in their young lives. AMEN

Dec 30, 2011
ACL tears and 16 too.
by: Jael

Hi, I am 16 and a junior. Sorry about all your tears.
I tore my ACL last year playing soccer for my HS. We were playing in a varsity tournament and I was going for ball on defense and one of the girls came and plowed me over from my left side. We all ended up in a big pile and my knee felt really weird! I motioned for my coach to take me off but I guess they did not see me. It started to feel a bit better and so I was like, “OK”. Then this girl came running by with the ball and I started to run after her. I had almost caught her but then suddenly my knee just gave out. I just lay there and was like “what just happened”. I just stayed there and my coaches and the trainer came out. So I sat out the rest of the tournament. So the next practice I saw our trainer and he thought it was ligaments, so he had me see this PT/athletic trainer to get a second opinion. The PT sent me to an orthopedic DR. An MRI displayed that I had torn my ACL. I was heartbroken! I did PT for about month then had surgery. I had the patellar tendon graft. It was really not that bad. I don’t know why, but my knee really did not hurt after surgery (I am not saying that was because of the graft choice, but I don’t know why it didn’t hurt) It was just achy! Like Kris (from below comment) they used dissolvable stitches and steri strips for mine too. I actually walked the day of surgery with people steadying me and got rid of the crutches after about a week. I think enjoy my big scar:) One thing is that after you go back to running and stuff your patellar tendon can get irritated some. This year during soccer season my kneecap would have a little burning feeling and was irritated.

So this year I tore my OTHER ACL playing soccer. Earlier this year in May I was playing in a club tournament (man those tournaments really hurt ya:) I hurt my knee. Somehow it bent a weird way when I was kicking, and I am told I fell with my knee outside. It hurt and I was like “NOT AGAIN” So I sat out the rest of those games and eventually our HS trainer came out because I got hurt. It hurt more on the outside. I went back to see one of my PTs and he thought it was lateral collateral ligament. I got a brace and was wearing it to do activities. As weeks went on my therapists thought it was maby more of a meniscus injury. SO I went to soccer camp with my HS team, the second game of the camp, I was running alongside a girl to get the ball way and I spun and I was bringing my right leg up to kick, when it popped and really hurt. So I quickly sat down and my coaches came out, and eventually a trainer came. She thought it could be more meniscus. SO I went to doctor when I got back home and then I had another MRI with confirmed that I tore my ACL and meniscus AGAIN. I decided to wait on surgery and play with a brace the whole HS season. I played! So now I am going to see another orthopedic surgeon on the 9th. and we shall see where it goes from there!

Sorry for the long story! :)

Dec 13, 2011
Hope this helps
by: Kris

Hi Collette! I tore my ACL for the first time when I was 16 while landing badly from a cheerleading stunt. I had reconstruction using my hamstring. Well, 20 years later I blew out the same knee after jumping off several stairs again landing badly. Mind you, I'm an avid runner and have completed several high intensity cross-fit programs. Anyway, my doctor recommended patellar tendon graft since research suggests cadaver grafts tend to be less flexible and might fail quicker than the autograft (one taken from you). Although pretty bruised with swelling, I have been weight bearing with the brace & NO CRUTCHES! The pain wasn't bad at first since I received a nerve block that numbed most of my leg for 24 hrs post-op. I also had a continuous ice machine which flushed cold water through a pad secured under my surgical dressing. I took my pain meds & made sure to ice my knee for 48 hours. One week later, I'm limping around of course wearing my brace, taking showers very carefully & not taking any pain medication. I think my ugly bruises are contributed to a little too much walking around my house - my family is helping but I'm not very good just sitting around. Any questions, please ask. PS, my doc used dissolvable sutures with steri-strips so the scar was more cosmetic (if your worried about that). At my age, I could care less but he was nice to put in the extra effort :)

Dec 09, 2011
Pain is different, but usually more stable
by: Bart - Sports Injury Info

Hi Colette - I remember your first ACL surgery, and the story you shared back in 2009 just before you had your reconstruction - I linked it above. Sorry to hear that you had a second, and now a third ACL tear.

About the patellar tendon - there are a lot of others who have had that experience who can comment specifically, but in the patients that I have treated, there is usually a different amount of pain - sometimes more, sometimes less, but it feels different because of where they take the graft from. Since this is your 3rd surgery, are they going to use your own patella, or use a cadaver graft?

Your rehab may start out a little slower getting your motion back, but overall, I think the patellar tendon is a better graft choice. It has bone to bone healing, and in studies has shown to have better ligamentization properties (big word, but basically stronger and better tissues) than the hamstring graft. Both are good choices, but it sounds like the hamstring option hasn't been very good for you so far.

If you have specific questions, please ask and I'll try to answer them.

Good luck with your upcoming appointment.


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