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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Nov 28, 2011
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Kennedy
by: Jael

Yes, exactly! I don’t think I ever did end up touching the spot where I got hurt.

Haha:) cool!

Oh, yeah. Its really tough to accept. Like you as a sophomore I had worked so hard for a varsity spot too! We were playing in a pre season tournament, the second game, andi had started both those games. I was really pumped! It was heart breaking when I got hurt, to know I was DONE! Since it was pre season we had not played in a regular season game yet. To get a varsity letter, we have to play in a certain amount of games, so even though I was a starter I did not get a letter because I had not played in the amount of games needed. Like I wish that it could have happened later in the year so that I could have played in the number of games needed!
Yeah, it does seem like your whole world crashes! (I know that sounds kind of dumb, but as you know, it is true). But its true, everything that seemed bad, turned into something positive! I definitely know that I appreciate soccer and just moving freely and walking so much more!


Nov 27, 2011
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Jael
by: Kennedy

Yes i remember staring at the same spot where i got hurt, and not even wanting to walk over it! i just kept replaying the same event over and over.

And yes my town is really small, but the news piece was like the tv station for the whole area, so it wasn't just for people in my town to see.

and i remember my dad calling my mom the night we drove home from the game where i got hurt. cause i was in such an insane amount of pain (i was like beating the seat in front of me) crying, and then i heard my dad say, "she's probably done for the rest of the season." and i just threw my head back, and blocked out the rest of the conversation. because i had worked so hard for that starting middle spot on the varsity team (i was only a sophomore) and then i had gotten it and i was so excited! and my volleyball team that year, was very, very good. and it was one of those years where we were only going to be good for that year. so getting hurt kinda like ruined my life (from my perspective at that point in time) but now it hasn't ruined my life at all! there have actually been some positives amongst everything that i thought was a negative!

Nov 26, 2011
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Kennedy
by: Jael

Oh that is cool:) I was so excited to be back playing!
Oh, I know! Doing the same movement that got you hurt is scary! Whenever I would go to take the ball from someone I would be like �Ahhh, not this�. And YES, going to the place where I got hurt was nerve wracking! We played there for our playoff game this year, and I just looked at the spot where I laid and was like �Oh, boy!:)

Oh, that is so cool! Is your town small? Ours s but they haven�t really done anything like that:( Oh well:)

Yea, I was very hard to believe! Like it happened so different and felt so different than the first time! I was ok for a bit, but then when my mom called to tell my dad I just LOST it! I was thinking about how I would lose another season and all that I would have to go through. I definitely knew that I did not want the surgery right away! It actually had not even been a year since the other one at that point. But I was so happy when we decided that I could play this year and that just made it so much better!

Nov 25, 2011
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Jael
by: Kennedy

Yes i did end up playing summer softball! I actually got released the last day of the season for school softball, so there wasn't really a point to playing! haha but i played all summer and it was more to just get back in the swing of things, i also played volleyball all summer which was a lot harder, my coach was understanding for like the first 5 seconds of the first practice and then after that she was just annoying (but she and i don't really get along so it's not like it matters haha) anyway though it was harder because volleyball was actually the sport i got hurt in. like jumping up i was always like, "Oh no this is it!" and then when we went back to the gym we were playing in when i got hurt it was almost surreal, but scary haha.

and the news story, they actually gave me an award called, "Extra Effort Athlete" and then they came to my school and filmed me practicing and then interviewed me on the experience and what i gained from it. it was really cool.

and i can't even imagine how i would feel if they told me i tore mine again! i would be soooooooooo upset!!!! i was so worried when i went back to my doctor for my other knee now that they were going to tell me something was torn, because there was a huge lump sticking out of it! but i was so glad when that wasn't it!

Nov 25, 2011
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Anonymous
by: Jael

Yeah! At first that was how it was for me, but my therapist told me to just let it go. He told me that if I thought about it and would go to do something, let say go to steal a soccer ball from another player, and hesitate or kind of stop, then that is when I would hurt it. So after a while I just forgot. I mean it will always be in the back of my mind though.
I am sorry it still hurts! I actually am having trouble with my repaired knee too. During soccer I started to inflame my patellar tendon (where they took the graft from) and also where they put the screw or the anchor thing, I can feel it and it kinda hurts. They told me this should go away though.
Did you end up playing softball? Or any other sport?
WOW, that is awesome! Like did they just tell your story or what?
Honestly, I could not believe it when they told me I had torn the other on. I was so shocked.


Nov 25, 2011
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Jael
by: Anonymous

It was so hard to forget for me. Every time I did anything that was all that I could think about. And no one really seemed to understand that at all. Like everyone just said "I thought you were better?". No one seems to really understand that it doesn't really go away ever. It's always On your mind. My knees just bother me all te time. They never stop hurting and it's so annoying! But looking back I'm almost glad that I happened to me because I got a lot of opportunitites from it. Haha my hometown even did a news story on it! (weird? Haha) but ya I was just wondering what it was like for you to retear!(since in so nervous about that). Good luck with everything!

Nov 25, 2011
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Staying with the team
by: Anonymous

I did the same thing for my soccer team senior year cause i had to sit out! All I was allowed to do was run and that was so hard for me! But i just made the basketball team at the college I'm going to so every second of hard work is work it!! hope everyones recovery went well!!

Nov 25, 2011
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:)
by: Jael

Hope your doing ok!

Nov 25, 2011
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SORRY! its been forever!
by: Jael

Hey,
Sorry! I did not get the emails saying you had written back.

Anyway in respons to your earlyer post, I was not wearing a brace. physicaly my (left- First) knee was feeling great! Mentaly it was a bit scary at first then I just forgot about it!! :)

Nov 25, 2011
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Re: softball
by: Jael

It is awsome that you got to keep the book for your team! after I tore mine I stayed too! I went to every game and every practice as well, till I had surgery. Then even afterward I went to the games!
It makes it a bit better if you can stay with the team!

Jul 14, 2011
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Softball
by: Anonymous

I would say that the mental aspect is more difficult. I did have to take the whole school season off, and to stay "connected" to the team i kept the book. I still went to everything. I went to every practice, and game, and just anything the team was doing-unless i had a doctor's appointment. I made it very clear that i was still part of the team even though i wasn't playing. It wasn't easy. I felt like my teammates didn't understand, how truly awful it was. But i had a teacher who was really there for me, every time i needed to talk it out, or just complain, she was there to listen. I also got involved in other things after i got hurt. I got way more involved in my student council and found out that i really enjoy that, i took some school trips and had a lot of fun. i met a ton of new people through my injury, i took chances that i wouldn't normally take. that would be my advice, discover something new! and talk to someone about it, because honestly-i don't think anyone can go through it alone.
"You're never given anything you can't handle."
:) Good luck!

Jul 14, 2011
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I know exactlty how you feel.
by: Natasha

I know exactly how you feel. I'm 16 too, had my ACL/meniscus done 3.5 months ago. I'm in love with softball, it's my life. 11 years of it! It's been the hardest thing I've ever had to do. May I ask you... for you, is the physical aspect harder or the mental/emotional aspect? For me, it's emotional. It feels like this season is breaking my heart not playing and all but still being involved with the team.
I was wondering if you had to take a season off and how you dealt with it? Did you stay a part of the team? How was it for you?

Thank you so so much!

Jul 14, 2011
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I know exactlty how you feel.
by: Natasha

I know exactly how you feel. I'm 16 too, had my ACL/meniscus done 3.5 months ago. I'm in love with softball, it's my life. 11 years of it! It's been the hardest thing I've ever had to do. May I ask you... for you, is the physical aspect harder or the mental/emotional aspect? For me, it's emotional. It feels like this season is breaking my heart not playing and all but still being involved with the team.
I was wondering if you had to take a season off and how you dealt with it? Did you stay a part of the team? How was it for you?

Thank you so so much!

May 27, 2011
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by: Anonymous

Thanks! I actually just got released by my doctor, and was given the green light for anything. but he said i would still be a little limited and to just be smart about it. He said i, "wasn't superman and needed to watch it." haha. but i just got my knee brace. it still feels really weird, but then again my right knee(the one i didn't hurt) hurts a lot too. so i don't really know whats going on. i just wish they were both normal again! :)

May 26, 2011
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by: A

Wow, your story really touched me because I know exactly how you feel. I tore my ACL, LCL, and Meniscus in my left knee playing basketball my freshman year. I ended up having two surgeries to fixed and cried all the time because I couldn't play basketball and softball anymore. People said the same thing to me that I "was just a freshman" and nobody understood what I was going through. I came back and was playing varsity basketball this year (I am now a senior) and with only two weeks left in the season I blew out my right knee this time. I tore my ACL, Medial Meniscus, and Lateral Meniscus. I had to miss my entire senior softball season this year but I am working hard in therapy to come back and be able to play college softball next year. Work hard and stay positive, in the end you will be a stronger person and athlete. Good luck with everything....you can get through this!!!

May 16, 2011
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:)
by: Anonymous

ya exactly! there isn't anything you can do to change it! you've just got to accept it and go with it...it may be hard, but i think there will always be someone there to help you along the way, in my case it's my teacher! but good luck with your injury, that really sucks that it's your 3rd time! has it gotten easier or harder each time? did your doctors tell you that there would be a chance of retear?

May 16, 2011
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I can relate
by: Anonymous

I know how you feel OP! It really does suck. I tore each of my ACL's one year after the other in high school, and Im recovering from a third tear right now.

You're right about not being able to understand it if you haven't went through it. It's a big deal in someones life and it effects you a lot, especially if you're someone very active.

I'm having a tough time getting through this one, but I'm going to take your advice because I do need to talk to someone I can really trust about this.

What helped me in the past was telling myself not to look back on it, there's nothing you can do to change what went down. You can only look at how you can make yourself stronger from it, because thats something you have control over.

Apr 02, 2011
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yep! haven't talked in a while! :)
by: Anonymous

hey! i've just been busy with my therapy and lifting weights, just basically trying to get stronger! i have my 5 month test on tuesday-i'm kinda nervous! haha, but i did play catch the other day for the first time since i got hurt! my doctor didn't say i could, but i was really careful haha. my goal is to be released by june 1st, because i really want to play summer ball!
that's really exciting that your practicing again! how does it feel, like both physically and mentally? are you wearing a brace? good luck with everything!

Mar 28, 2011
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Long time no talk!!:)
by: Jael

Hey sorry I have not written in a while!!

So how are you now??

As you know (from earlier post)I got cleared to play soccer. now my therapist wants me to have my first couple of practices Non- contact:( but oh well!

So my spring season starts march 31st! YAY!! so I can't wait to actually play again!!

Feb 20, 2011
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to the one that played a month with no ACL
by: Anonymous

I am the one who commented above you. The exact same thing happened to me! No swelling when it happened. It was definitely the worse news ever, especially after I had already went through it the year before! Everyone was cautious with me at first and it bothered me. I told them i was fine and to treat me like the rest of the team, so that didn't last too long. And someone to talk to definitely helps. My freshman yr, the coach I had was only about 5 years older than me and talking to her helped me so much! Glad to hear you made it through your season!

Feb 20, 2011
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I know how you feel!
by: Anonymous

I tore my ACL and medial meniscus in my right knee during my Junior year playing varsity basketball last year. I finished the last month of the season on it. It only hurt when it gave out never got swollen or bruised so i kept playing. I went to the doctor in march and had an mri and i was told i had torn my ACL and meniscus. This had to of been the worst news i had ever heard. I had surgery on May 6th. I agree talking to people helps soooo much. I had my coach and she was just there to listen and that helped me so much, even if we didn't talk just knowing she was there for me helped a ton! I had to miss track that year that was hard but.. missing my senior season of soccer was even worse i never got cleared to play and that was extremely hard for me being on varsity since a freshmen and being a 2 year started. So one plus for you is that yes you are only a sophomore but you get another chance to play the sport you love! I got cleared to play contact the day basketball started i was so excited. But i was extremely timid at first and i think people we afraid to hit me or bump me because i think they were afraid to hurt me. There was one day in practice where i got hit from both sides of my leg and i could feel it my knee starting to give but it caught itself. That was prob the scariest part of the season for me. But it also let me know that it was strong enough now. I finished my season friday. You will get there and when you do it feels amazing to be able to play the sport you love again!! keep pushing through the pain you will get there!!!

Feb 19, 2011
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Re
by: Anonymous

WOW! So sorry to hear of your injury. I'm a junior and I completely blew out my left knee as a freshman playing varisty basketball. Tore my left ACL, 30% of my meniscus, severe bone bruising, and dislocated it. I had the hamstring graft recovered and came back to play my sophomore season of girls varsity bball, played about 11 games, and randomly felt my right knee pop, but it didn't seem that bad. PT said i was fine,Dr. said i was fine, played for about a month with my knee going out on me, when the season was done, i knew something was wrong and got an MRI, it revealed that my ACL was gone. My orthopedic doctor, said he wouldn't have been able to tell without the MRI. Had surgery and I am a junior playing varsity bball with my best year yet! I have one more week to get through, I'm praying that i don't get hurt.

The line "you are only a sophomore or freshman" does get very old and no one knows what you are going through or how you feel unless they have been through it. I hope that you recovery goes amazing and you are back to doing what you love in no time! Remember that you can conquor this thing and you can come back stronger than ever!

Feb 16, 2011
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Soccer
by: Jael

Well I saw my Dr today and He totally cleared me for everything!!!!!!

I am so excited! He said that the only restriction would be in my head. He said because I know that playing soccer was how I got injured that I would probebly be a little tentative!

YOU WILL GET THERE!!!!!

When I first had surgery it seemed like it would be forever till I could play, but it will come!

Feb 11, 2011
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ACL
by: Anonymous

Yes the leg lifts are boring! i hate being able to see how much different my legs are from one another, it's so weird.
and i will def keep you up to date!
and i am def excited that there's somebody else to talk to that understands too!

Feb 11, 2011
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Keep plugin away!
by: Jael

Yeah! those leg lifts get soooo boring, but they do work! It takes soo long to get all the muscle mass back. On my last day of therapy they measured my legs to see the difference in muscle, and in places my reconstructed leg was still 1 cm smaller. After almost 4 months of therapy!!! They told me that it takes a while to even get one cm back!! Just keep working and it will pay back in the end!

Thank you! I hope I can play too! I see my Dr on the 16th soo.......:) we will see!

And I hope you can play softball this summer! I am sure you will be better than before:)!!!!!!!!!

Keep me up to date, and I will keep you up to date!
It really is nice for me to have someone that went through the same feelings I had!

Feb 10, 2011
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ACL
by: Anonymous

I'm so glad someone finally understands exactly! because this is a hard process to go through.

anyway i had my 3 month BioDex test a few days ago and my doctor said that my results were "normal" but he wanted them to be great. he gave me the go ahead to start doing leg weights, which was something that i couldn't do before. so now i have to lift leg weights ever day for a long time, he told me to lift until i was going to fall over. so that's where i'm at now.

i hope your recovery is going okay still, and i hope you can play soccer!

Feb 10, 2011
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I DO understand!
by: Jael

I am a sophomore too, and I tore my ACL playing soccer in September. I was playing in a varsity soccer tournament when a girl came from the side and plowed me over. I can totally relate to all that you went through! When I was reading your story I was thinking that is exactly what happened to me, that’s how I felt. Mentally it is SOO hard to accept that you are “DONE”, and it happens so fast that you don’t even have time to think! And my friends just didn’t understand…. They had NO idea. I got the same thing “its going to be ok” but, at the moment it dose not help at all because the end seems soo far away. I had surgery October 12 (one month before you:) and had the patellar tendon graft (I was thinking the same thing about someone else’s body part in mine when they offered me the cadaver:). Sleep was AMAZING! Therapy dose stink! Some things hurt soo bad, but it eventually ends! I just finished my last day of therapy last week, and although I still have a ways to go, one phase is past. I hope to play soccer this spring. I agree that talking to someone HELPS!!!!! Just letting it all out! I kept a journal and wrote all my feeling in it, and its interesting to look back on it and see all that went through my head. There were days that I just had to cry and that was ok.
I agree that hearing “your only a sophomore” was the worst. Your whole season was taken away from you, just like you didn’t play at all. People just didn’t understand sometimes! I found that talking to some who had this injury helps IMMENSELY! My therapist had the same injury playing soccer, so he knew exactly what I was going through mentally, when the other therapist didn’t, they only knew the physical aspect, they didn’t know how I felt inside. My therapist knew how to push me to my limit, because he went through it, and he knew it was hard sometimes but he was an encouragement. Just seeing someone who got through this injury and is now playing soccer again was sooo helpful!

Keep up the hard work, and keep me up to date!:)

Jael

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