It was 2008, I was getting ready for the annual powderpuff football game which is 1 day a year that most of the girls in the 11th and 12 grade play touch football against one another. I was so excited to play, I was on the Red Bulls team we had red decorated t-shirts and everything. It was the 2nd game of the afternoon. I was playing defense guarding all the people trying to catch the ball. I saw it come hurling my direction headed toward the person behind me. I jumped up felt my knee pop, I batted down the ball and went to the ground knowing I couldn’t get back up. This single moment has been a milestone in my life. At the time I continued with high school softball until I finally saw the doctor who confirmed I had indeed torn my ACL. The ligament in the knee that holds the femur and calf bone together. It was a season ending injury. I had to get surgery, rehab and wear a knee brace for the next 18 months. Those months were very challenging. I had to watch my team take 2nd place in the state tournament as a senior in high school. I remember lying in my kitchen doing my rehab exercises in pain sobbing my eyes out thinking I was never going to compete again (a little dramatic, I know). Through the 18 months I learned several things
Sometimes it sucks! It is hard work and is emotionally and physically exhausting!
I learned to listen to my body and push my body just to the safe limit
I can be a GREAT teammate even though I am not able to physically fully participate
It was the best thing that happened to me!
Now, to the present moment October of 2019. I am sitting in a lodge on the top of Coronet in Queenstown New Zealand nursing a bit of a bum shoulder (it is covered in tape under my wet suit). As much of an annoyance it is it forces me to really pay attention to my ability and then I get the pleasure of figuring out how to accomplish a task a different way. For example, I can’t make a long extensive grab on the rock wall with my right arm so I get to become a better climber by eliminating that move and focusing on other moves. As cheesy as it is obstacles give us an opportunity to grow other skills and forces us to get in tune with ourselves.
I instantly reflect on my time of a torn ACL and how mentally and physically challenging it was and how grateful I am that I had that experience. As an athlete and one that has gone through some pain it has really given me the ability to take care of my body and push it to the limit once something has happened. I have pretty significant pain happening in my shoulder that has been tripping me up the last couple of weeks. I am taking proper care of it, and allowing myself to participate fully knowing my limits. Specifically, with rock climbing it is forcing me to become a more aware climber in the sense that some things I just cannot do with my right shoulder so I have to come up with a way around it. It is a blessing in disguise no doubt.
So, what can a person do when unable to fully participate?
BE THERE, you are still part of the team so show up! Even if it just sitting on the sideline shows the team you are there for them and that you are a team player. Plus, you can learn a lot as a spectator if you pay attention!
Learn about your injury, learn the limits of what you can do and adjust your rehab plan to fit you! You know it better than anyone else, use this knowledge to communicate with your doctor/physical therapist in order to get you back in the game (whatever your equivalent is to game)
Stay positive know that your injury is only temporary and that you are capable enough to work through it and will be able to deal with whatever it throws at you. There will be setbacks, just as there will be triumphs. Remember, you can’t have one without the other.
Use the opportunity use this time to learn more about your sport or activity, visual repetitions will allow you to grow as a competitor. (shooting a basketball when you have a broken ankle, building your legs for power when you have an upper body issue, working on your eye hand coordination when it is your knee)
Choose to Be happy,
use this time to learn more about your sport or activity, visual repetitions will allow you to grow as a competitor. (shooting a basketball when you have a broken ankle, building your legs for power when you have an upper body issue, working on your eye hand coordination when it is your knee)