I walked into physiotherapy all jazzed up today. I was motivated to get a sweat, feel the burn and move one step closer to putting my torn ACL behind me. I saw my physiotherapist and he told me to take a seat. Was he breaking up with me?
“I’ve seen a great amount of progress from you in a short time,” he began. “Now, as you get to nine months post-op, I want to take one of our sessions to explore some of your improvements and ensure you understand exactly where you are in the recovery process.”
Great. A waste of a session. Or so I thought…
He asked me a series of questions that forced me to reflect in ways I had not since my developments had become so tangible. Here are some of the best questions he asked me, along with my answers. For those keeping score at home, I’m 8.5 months post-operation from my hamstring graft ACL reconstruction.
When are you reminded of your injury?
When I’m tempted to cut, speed up or change directions quickly. When it’s wet outside and I know I have to be cautious, or first thing in the morning when the general stiffness is at its worst.
What limitations do you still have in day-to-day life?
I’m very close to being able to say “none” to this question. I sometimes experience some soreness/stiffness after long car rides. I still ‘plop’ down the stair if it’s inordinately lower than the average step. I can feel a slight ‘click’ on my knee, especially when I’ve been sitting in the same position for a long time.
Have you done anything and thought ‘this is risky’?
Only once. It was recently I was playing Frisbee in the park with my friends. It got dark and started to rain but we didn’t stop. One misstep could have been disastrous for me and even though I escaped unscathed, I consider it extremely foolish given how hard I’ve worked to get to this point.
Has your outlook on sports changed at all in the past few months?
Absolutely. I used to always use ‘playing contact football’ as my end goal. It was my motivation. Now however, I seriously doubt that I’ll ever play competitive football again, and not because of my body’s limitations. I’m 26, I’m not going pro, and even though I derive more pleasure from playing football than any other sport, the risks are higher than the rewards having gone through most of the rehab process.
Will I still play? Of course! So looking forward to running drills, scrimmaging with friends and doing all the things that put a dopey smile on my face. I just don’t see myself lacing up and dawning my #21 jersey any time soon. And yes, that could absolutely change.
You opted to rehab for a full year at your doctor’s suggestion. Now that you’re entering the last quarter of rehab before you gain clearance for sports, what are you most looking forward to doing?
I’ve been very excited to play Frisbee because the forgiving nature and pace of the ‘sport’ (hey, it’s as close as I get now) have helped ease me back into activities. Catching and running at higher speeds has really motivated me, and I’m excited to continue to see my progress this way. In terms of real sports, returning to non-contact activities like tennis, and starting new ones such as volleyball is going to be awesome!
The Return of the #ACLChat
— Jesse Dimick (@jdimick) September 28, 2014
I recently reached out to Jesse Dimick and Julie Eibensteiner about their #ACLChat on Twitter. We got to chatting and from across the globe, PTs and recovering athletes voiced how badly they wanted to see the return of this awesome discussion. I was really pleased to hear they’d be bringing it back on Sunday October 12th from 8-9PM on Twitter, and I’ll be a part of it. If you’re involved with the injury at all, I’d love to see you there!