Tina's ACL Story - My First Major Injury

by Tina S
(Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

I've played competitive soccer since I was 10 years old. No matter what has happened to me in my life, soccer has always been my outlet. In fact, that's how I spend all of my free time, whether it be playing, watching, coaching... I love soccer.

On February 11th, 2010, I was playing in an intramural game: 6 vs. 6 indoor turf. In the second half, I was just running after the ball - something that is so automatic to me - and all of a sudden, my knee gave out and I heard a terrible popping noise. I went down and a rush of pain hit me. It was no worse than an ankle sprain... but it was my knee so I knew something was wrong. I was helped off the field, but then walked home and, by the next day, I was walking just fine - barely even limping. I thought "how bad could it be?"

After the initial check-up, the doctor couldn't give me a definitive answer on the injury due to the swelling. But, I was convinced that I was "fine" because I could walk... I wanted to play the next day. She told me to stay off of it and come back in a week.

So, last Friday I went back. After a week of no soccer, I was practically going crazy. I tried to fill the void by helping organize/coach my teams, but seeing how much fun everyone was having might have made it worse! I wanted so badly to be playing with my team mates!! What was worse was that I felt totally fine!! I almost had full range
of motion and felt absolutely no pain... I was very hopeful...

Then the Doctor's words hit me: "I'm sorry, you've ruptured your ACL and need surgery". The words hit me like a bus - I won't be able to play for almost a year! After 20 minutes of talking about the procedure and what I needed to do next, I booked some physiotherapy, an MRI, and a time to meet with my surgeon. A lot happened in that 20 minutes.

So here I am. I start my first physiotherapy session tomorrow afternoon. Other than feeling frustrated about not being able to play (and missing playoffs for 2 of my teams next week!)... I'm definitely starting to feel "freaked out". I've never had a major injury before, or had surgery, or experienced anything more than a rolled ankle. I'm scared that I'll never play the same, or never get back to where I am now... it's hard to think about anything else.

To ease my mind, I started looking on the internet... and I found that this one in particular was the most helpful. I'm learning about what questions to ask the surgeon, what kind of grafts are possible, the basic surgery procedure etc. It's a lot to take in, but I think that mentally preparing myself is helping ease the stress.

If you're reading this, and have any positive words about recovery time and/or how fast I can get back to playing... I'd really appreciate it.

I'll keep this page updated if you care to follow my "road to recovery". Knowing that others have gone through this experience is really helping the mental side of my recovery.


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