My ACL Story

I am 16 years old, and a sophomore. I have been playing softball for as long as I can remember, it is my favorite thing in the world. I have also been playing volleyball for about 6 years. I was playing the varsity volleyball middle hitting position at my school on October 19th, 2010 when my world changed. With one simple jump, I blew out my whole knee. I remember going up to block the volleyball and then landing on two feet. But when I landed my whole left leg cracked to the right at my knee. I collapsed on the ground and began screaming. The pain was insane. Finally after many tearful, screaming minutes a trainer made an initial diagnosis-which turned out to be wrong. In fact, I was diagnosed three times and they were all wrong.

After many, many weeks, and many, many different doctors and trainers, I had my MRI. My MRI stated that I had completely torn my ACL, torn my LCL and my meniscus, badly sprained my MCL, bruises my fibula, and all my tissue was swollen. That was the worst news of my life. I felt like my world had come crashing down. Life as I knew it, had literally changed in the blink of an eye. I didn’t know how to handle it. I cried-a lot. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to go through mentally. No one seemed to understand how much it sucked. Eventually though I realized that I had to get all of my thoughts out. I needed to talk it out. Talking helped, but my friends could only say “don’t worry it’ll get better, it’ll be okay.” But it wasn’t going to be okay! I couldn’t finish the season with my volleyball team, and I couldn’t play softball, the one thing in the world that I absolutely wanted to do. One of my teachers helped me talk all of my thoughts out, it helped a lot, to have someone that slightly understood, and that didn’t judge me. That would be some advice I would give-talk to someone you trust, it helps to get it all out.
After a 3 week waiting period, I was scheduled for surgery on November 12, 2010. I was nervous, I didn’t know what to expect. I had decided to have a cadaver tendon put into my knee, and that was a weird thought too. I was going to have a dead person’s ACL in my knee! My surgery lasted about 2 hours, and the pain when I woke up was terrible. It was nothing compared to the initial pain I felt though. This pain was better-because this pain meant that I was on the road to recovery. I slept for like a week after my surgery, I was so tired and felt like I couldn’t move. While I slept the doctor had me use a CPM machine. This machine moves my knee for me to flex it. Initially I hated it, it hurt, and it was a pain. But after a while I realized how much it was helping me. It was like winning a medal every time I got to move my machine up 5 degrees. It was a goal to move the machine up, and I was doing very well with it.
One week after surgery I had my first therapy appointment. Therapy starts out easy, with them just checking your range of motion and your swelling. Then it gets harder, for example now I have to do lunges and step-ups. It’s hard. But it’s going to be hard if you want to get better.
Today is February 3, 2011. I am 2 months and 24 days post surgery. I am getting better, but it’s taking a while. It’s still sore, but it’s going to be sore. I will not be able to play softball, and that’s killing me. I wish with every part of me that I could, but I won’t be able to. I’m hoping to be back for summer ball by the 1st of June. I am getting better, that’s what I keep telling myself, I will be okay, I will.
It took me a long time to accept the fact that I had gotten hurt. I went through the, “it’s not fair!” stage, I went through the, “nothing’s ever going to be the same again!” phase. Everyday isn’t perfect. There’s days where I just want to cry and I am just mad that it happened to me.
I have been given some amazing advise throughout this ordeal, and the one piece of advice that I continuously look back on it, “You are never given anything you can’t handle.” And you’re not, it will be okay. It will take a long time, but you will be okay.
The worst thing I’ve heard throughout my injury is that “I’m only a sophomore.” I hear it weekly. I know that everyone is just trying to encourage me, but it doesn’t. This injury sucks, no matter how old you are. Most people don’t realize that though. Like for example most people that I talk to are shocked that I’m still in therapy and that I can’t play softball. I just have to remind myself that this doesn’t happen to a lot of people, and that most don’t understand. It’s a 6-9 month injury, and as much as I hate it, I’m learning a lot from it.
Thank you for reading my story! I hope you took something away from it! :) If you have any questions or comments just go ahead and comment!

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