Paul's ACL Expericence

by Paul Raymond
(Hanford, CA)

I am a Forty year old middle school teacher. Two years ago, (December of 2009) I completely tore my right ACL while coaching my basketball team. I was demonstrating an “up and under" move, when "Pow!" My knee blew up and I went to the ground. I laid there for a minute, knowing full well that I had just done something really, really bad. I had just had meniscus surgery about a year before, and knew the feeling all too well. After gathering myself, I got up and went back to coaching the team.

The following day, I took a personal day off from school (I teach 8th grade Language Arts and History) and went to the Dr. He did some funny thing with my knee and thigh, and it took him two seconds to declare, "You tore your ACL." He then sent me for an MRI in order to confirm it. After completing the MRI, the tech asked me, "What's the worst thing you can do to your knee as an athlete?" I said, "Tear your ACL." He said "You got it."

After having surgery on my right and left shoulders, and my right Meniscus within a four year span, I wasn't looking forward to being down again. Especially considering the fact that I teach, coach football and basketball, run our Leadership program and have children. My school also "suggested" that I do not file a claim so some of the cost for surgery was going to come out of my own pocket.

Two years went by, and I continued to do many things despite my ACL tear. I continued to work out, and
tried to strengthen my quad muscles. I also used the brace that was prescribed for me. I threw the knee out many times, and it seemed to get worse each time I did this. At one point, I feared I had torn something else when I threw it out making a cut in football. I laid on the ground for quite some time, and the pain was high.

I also believe that the people around me did not truly believe I blew out my ACL because of all the things I was able to do. I've just always been an active person; I have a high pain tolerance, and do not know enough to take it easy when I probably should.

It is now December 23, 2011, and I am three days out from having my surgery. My Dr. performed the donor graft procedure. Everything appears to have gone well. The pain is tolerable. I am doing my best to follow Dr.'s instructions (as I have not been good about this in the past). I get numbness in my lower leg and feet on occasion, and I have to shift a lot. The good thing is that I am on vacation from school, so I have three weeks to recover as much as possible before the craziness of school begins again. I have been able to put pressure on the leg, and have already showered and taken off my dressings. I have also caught up on a lot of movies I’ve been meaning to see.

If anyone has suggestions, or insight into what I can expect with my recovery, I would love to hear from you.


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