I've Sprained My ACL!
Injury, Recovery, Injury….
This is a personal blog post about what I’ve been going through my recent injuries and hopefully you find it interesting or useful somehow. If you want the lesson learned and how this might help you without the details, skip to the last paragraph, I won’t be offended haha 😊
About 6 and a half weeks ago I was playing basketball when a freak accident happened and as I landed from a jumping move another player also landed, but with his foot just above my knee. At this moment my right knee hyperextended, bending backwards, and putting me in more pain than I’ve been in on a basketball court before. I couldn’t walk off the court unassisted and once unable to put my right heal on the floor and walk normally for about 3 weeks. I got on with rehab the day after it happened and although the early going was slow, but there was still progress, which saw a rapid upswing in weeks 4, 5 and 6. I felt so good that I was ready to return to basketball.
My daughter was keen to come and watch a game and with 2 home games left in the season I aimed to come back for the first one so she could come and watch 2 more games this year. It seemed like a reasonable decision, by this point I was able to run again, I could jump and land on the right leg, as well as run up the stairs 2 at a time. I felt good, even doing some basketball moves well and at full speed.
The game was going well, after the first quarter we were ahead, and I was feel pretty good for someone who had barely trained in the last 6 weeks (I was absolutely knackered! But my knee felt good). Then I did a move I hadn’t tested! I jumped, turning in mid air and as I landed, I felt a twisting sensation in my knee I have never felt before, and certainly don’t wish to ever feel again! I felt inside of my thigh bone hit it the top of my shin bone…. Yuk! In all honesty while it was sore and I knew I’d done something that really wasn’t good, it wasn’t as sore as the first injury. I just tried to keep myself together at that point as my daughter and my wife were there and I didn’t want them to know that inside I was terrified of how it would feel when I stood up off then bench, or if this was my last time playing basketball, or how long it would be until I could run around and play with both my kids again (having only just got that ability back a few weeks before).
The first of those things wasn’t that bad, I was able to stand up off the bench and hobble over to see my wife and daughter, then start with her while she took a few shots herself. The next morning is where things started to get interesting… When I lifted my right foot off the floor, I got hot, burning pains down the inside of knee and it really felt like it could fall apart. I did however get dressed and get myself to the gym for work! It’s certainly tested my ability to describe exercises to people rather than demonstrate them!
That was a tough day, more mentally than anything else, I was really down and found everything hard, I questioned everything, why did I play? Why did I do that move? Was it worth it? Should I even bother trying to play basketball again? What if I can’t run around and play with the kids anymore? I’m sure there was more. At this point I did a little vent video (or as someone wonderful called it, ‘a pity post’, charming haha! It did make me laugh though), I just got it all out and posted it on every social media I have. The reason I did this wasn’t for the attention, I’m really not that person, at that moment I needed to tell as many people as I could that I was going to rehab this thing and comeback stronger, whether I play basketball again or not but just to life. I’ve played basketball since I was about 7 years old and at a good level in the past, it’s my coping mechanism and a place where my brain can finally go quiet, but while that’s important to me physically playing with my kids is so much more. That’s why I did that post, now that a lot of people know I’m doing this, can’t back out. I’m normally not someone to need this sort of accountability, if I want to do something I’ll just do it, but these 2 severe injuries in such short periods of time really left me dejected and down.
At this point I realised it was going to be more of a mental game than a physical one, as a generally positive person knew I had to find positives where I could and then I remembered about 3 weeks into the last rehab I was excited to wake up each morning and see what new thing my knee could do that day. So I made myself an 8 week chart and left a box for each day, and so far I’ve written in something new I can do each day that couldn’t be done the day before. These constant little wins serve as great motivation on the days that then end goal seems really far away.
At the weekend I was able to get out in the good weather and bring our garden back to life somewhat and this morning I did my first workout on the leg and upper body (it was highly modified, but it was certainly a workout).
So the take away is when you’re injured , especially if it’s a long recovery, it will get you down and that’s ok, but don’t wallow. Have your down day, be annoyed, frustrated, scared and everything else but then pick yourself up and ask the simple question of, ‘what can I do today?’ For me that was a to stand on 1 leg and balance on Friday; on Saturday I could walk on it as long as I was slow and on Sunday I would walk a little bit quicker; today I could do a version of a wall sit and even do some modified lunges. So make something or keep some form of appreciation diary that will keep you positive and focused on the little wins and what you can do rather than what you can’t.