The Dreaded 3 Letters No Athlete Wants to Hear…….ACL.

I had seen it happen to a girl on my college basketball team and had heard about it happening to a few other girls in the area, but other than that, I didn’t know too much about ACL injuries. Why would I? Nobody was tearing their ACL when I was in high school. And even in college, it was pretty rare. Boy have times changed. ACL is about as common of an acronym as LOL or BTW!  Go ask any high school (and maybe even middle school!) female basketball or soccer player if they know anyone who has torn their ACL and I bet they can name not one, but a few…..

Even though I didn’t know much about ACL injuries–even after playing 5 years of DIV I College Basketball–the first thought as I laid on the ground clutching my right knee was, “this is it-this is what it feels like to blow out your knee”. It was a beautiful day in the 70’s and I was on the Milwaukee Lakefront playing a game of Rugby. Why Rugby?? Well here is the short version of how I got into Rugby: Finished college basketball in 2002 > continued on to Grad School >  was still around campus but not playing any sports > suffered from athlete identity/retirement crisis > was asked to play rugby by coworker > was so excited to have practices and compete on “game day” > started games in Fall of 2003. Now fast-forward to Spring of 2004 and I’m lying on the ground clutching my right knee after I had planted to make a cut to dodge a defender. I was so excited that morning because my sister, bro-in-law and my parents had all come to watch the game. As I limped toward my parents, they asked what I thought about it-I simply said, “I’ll be fine, I don’t think its serious” (I didn’t like to make my parents worry!). Then I continued on and went to sit down by my sister. When she asked what I thought, I calmly said “I just tore my ACL”.

Many people ask how it is you know that it happens. My answer is simple; “It feels like someone grabs your lower leg and grabs your upper leg and pulls your knee apart.” Sorry if that makes your stomach turn, but that is the only way I’ve ever been able to describe it. I know that is not the case for everyone–some people have partial tears and some people don’t even know they tore anything,  but I knew it in a split second. What I didn’t know was the 6 year journey I was about to embark on………

One Response to “The Dreaded 3 Letters No Athlete Wants to Hear…….ACL.”

  1. Angela Skebba December 8, 2012 at 6:33 pm # Reply

    OUCH…is about all I can say. So sorry you went through all of that, but glad you’re doing much better. Yey for strength training!

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