Your Age: – 18
City: – Elkins Park
State/Country (if outside U.S.): – PA
Sport/Activity: – Soccer and non-contact football
Tell Your Story / Post a Follow Up: –
Entering the Summer before Senior year of high school, I knew the importance of performing well at college showcases and camps to even grasp the attention of one college coach. I entered the summer with no offers, no guarantees, and little interest from coaches. Rather than blaming the lack of interest on playing for a smaller club team or general upbringing and subpar coaching through the soccer ranks, I took it upon myself to push myself to the limit to get recruited. The goal was to break down my body everyday and see where my limits were, recover from that fatigue and grow and push harder. By the time I entered my last recruiting, my mindset and work ethic earned interest from two colleges I was keen on attending. The last camp held no particular interest aside from the fact my dad signed me up for it months ago. I thought nothing could bring me down from this streak of amazing opportunities that have presented themselves to me over the course of one month. The last scrimmages of the day were held in the evening and I was playing out of this world. I scored two goals from the centerback position and shut down all the attacking threats coming towards me. My coach wanted to keep me on the field but try me out as an outside back so other players could showcase themselves at the Centerback position. A short time after my move to outside back came a breakaway towards our net. I flew from the spot on the touchline and darted towards the net, hoping to intercept the play. As I neared the striker, my confidence grew louder and louder until I finally made contact with the ball. In the same moment, the opposing striker’s body fell into the back of my knee at the same time as my keeper colliding with the shin of the same leg, I felt something explode in my knee. I felt the worst pain of my life for a minute. I walked off the field on my own weight but I knew something was wrong. Trainers at the camp knew I tore it but couldn’t bear to tell me. My parent’s friend who lived near the camp examined my knee when she drove me to the train station to head home and knew in the back of her mind it was a torn ACL.. After a 10 hour train ride home and a trip the ER, I heard the words “torn ACL” from an orthopedic doctor as soon as he entered the room. I was shocked but mainly disappointed I couldn’t see where my body’s limits could have been. After surgery and the first couple weeks of recovery, I began doing official visits at schools that recruited me throughout the summer. After I learned of my ACL tear, I had to make difficult phone calls to college coaches telling them of my injury. All of the coaches were disheartened but still invested in recruiting me to their institutions. But the vibe I got from certain coaches was different when I arrived campus and gave me the impression that these coaches didn’t want me anymore because of my injury. I eventually found my school but it definitely hurt to have coaches talk to you differently because of the injury. My rehab was going amazing. I was passing checkpoints in my protocol earlier than anticipated by my PT and I regained that confidence from the summer back. I was incredibly excited to play college soccer next year as my senior year was winding down and I was closer towards the 9 months Post-Op clearance for full sports activity. 6 days before my last appointment, I was casually tossing a football around outside, no contact or nothing. Some unknown high schooler thought for some reason our casual tossing of the ball was an invitation for contact. He charged at me when I had the ball and before I could move away, hit my shoulder straight on. With my non-operated leg in the air, my operated leg was planted in the ground and subsequently twisted as a result of the hit. I felt a shift in my knee but not a whole lot of pain. I was still worried. I thought it was another torn meniscus or a sprained MCL or LCL. I heard those painful words again, this time from my orthopedic surgeon: “torn ACL”. I was 6 days away from freedom. All of that hard work was washed away. The next day, I woke up early in the morning and thought to myself I can’t be angry, sad, nor petty. I can be disappointed as that is it. I had two instances of contact ACL tears and had no control of the state of my knee. After I broke the news to friends and family, I got a fair number of “I feel so bad”. Even though I appreciated the thought, I do not want to feel sorry for myself because in doing so I’m acknowledging the best of me is behind me and the future isn’t worth working towards. I will eventually make it onto the pitch with my college soccer teammates so there is no need to dwell in the past when something so great will present itself in the future. I went through revision ACL surgery on May 17th and a week later, I noticed an issue with my incision along my quad. From a glance, it looked like a large amount of fluid was building up below the incision site. That night, one of the stitches on the incision broke and a whole lot of fluid poured out. My surgeon recommended the next day for me to stay a couple of nights overnight to get it looked at for a possible infection. Eventually, my surgeon concluded that he needed to clean out and drain my knee while also checking my incision site for a possible infection. The procedure took two and a half hours and I woke up in immense amount of pain and nausea, preventing me from eating or drinking post-op. I went to bed that night rolling around in pain thinking why me? What did I do to deserve all this? I suddenly caught myself mid thought and realized the counter-intuitive thought process I was going through would only justify my feelings of sadness and anger. I need the ask the questions of how can I bounce back? How can I make sure this is the last time I experience this pain? I woke up the next day and felt as motivated as I did back in the summer going into my senior year.